South Sudan says optimistic over peace deal with rebels

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Addis Ababa, 21 January 2014 (WIC) - South Sudan's government said Saturday it was optimistic it may soon sign a ceasefire agreement with rebels, amid the first signs that peace talks underway in neighbouring Ethiopia could be making progress.

A spokesman for President Salva Kiir said the government's chief negotiator, who had been back in Juba for consultations, was preparing to return to Addis Ababa intent on signing a truce.

"He will be leaving to Addis to sign the cessation of hostilities, and you heard that the side of the rebels has accepted," said the spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny.

"The government is ready to sign a cessation of hostilities tomorrow or on Monday. The chief negotiator had come here to consult on the conditions imposed by the rebels," he added, without specifying if all of the differences had been ironed out.

Speaking in the Ethiopian capital, top rebel negotiator Mabior Garang said a draft deal presented by IGAD, the East African bloc that is brokering the talks, had been accepted by the rebel side.

Delegates from South Sudan's government and rebels have been meeting in a luxury hotel in the Ethiopian capital for the past two weeks. (globalpost.com)

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