IGAD-led S. Sudan peace talks resume in Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa, 29 April 2014 (WIC) - The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said Monday the next round of peace talks aimed at ending more than four months of conflict in South Sudan resumed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

A statement from mediators said the IGAD-mediated peace process said the third session of the Phase Two of the peace talks which had been adjourned on April 7 would focus on national healing and reconciliation.

"The third session of Phase II of the South Sudan Peace talks that focus on a political dialogue for national reconciliation and healing resumed in Addis Ababa today following the arrival of all Parties," the statement said.

It said the IGAD special envoys used the adjournment period to hold a series of consultations with the principals of the warring Parties, President Salva Kiir President and former deputy turned foe, Riek Machar in an effort to fast-track the negotiation process and avert further escalation of the conflict.

"During the consultations, the principals shared concern over the recent escalation of the conflict and expressed their renewed commitment to the mediation process," the statement said.

It said the special envoys also conducted a series of shuttle missions to regional capitals and held consultations with leaders of IGAD countries as well as the African Union, the UN and IGAD partners to mobilize support for the mediation process and the unhindered operations of the IGAD Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVM) as well as to expedite the deployment of the regional Protection Force (PF).

The statement comes as fighting between government and opposition forces have displaced more than 900,000 people inside the country, including 68,000 who are sheltering in UN peacekeeping bases.

The peace talks led by regional mediation bloc, IGAD started early January. Mediators said several steps need to be taken by both parties now that they have signed ceasefire agreements.

The tensions escalated on Dec. 15, 2013 into a full-scale conflict between forces loyal to either side, driving 800,000 people from their homes and leaving twice as many in dire need of aid.

Benin: BADEA loans for Benin, Ethiopia
The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) has given loans worth US$8 million and US$10 million to Benin and Ethiopia respectively, PANA reported Monday.

The loan to Benin will help finance the construction and equipping of the Graduate School for Technical Education in “Lokossa”.

The project aims to improve the technical education capacity, reduce the shortage of technical teachers and help to meet the skilled man power need in the production sector of the country, thus contributing to its socio-economic development.

The loan is repayable in 30 years, including a grace period of 10 years and at an annual interest rate of 1%.

This loan has taken BADEA's total commitments to Benin to US$157.705 million.

For its part, Ethiopia will use its loan to help finance the Construction of the “Arba Rakate-Gelemso-Micheta" Road Project.

The project is aimed at developing the national roads network, especially to service agricultural areas and improve trade activities.

The loan is also repayable in 30 years, with a grace period of 10 years and an annual interest rate of 1%.

The latest loan has raised BADEA's total commitments to Ethiopia to US$165.23 million. (Xinhua)