US envoy meets rebel leader Machar

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Addis Ababa, 12January 2014 (WIC) - Efforts to broker a ceasefire in South Sudan have continued with a US special envoy and other mediators meeting the rebel leader, Riek Machar.

Special envoy Donald Mr Booth met Mr Machar at an undisclosed location in South Sudan.

He said later mediators would continue to press for the release of jailed associates of Mr Machar for them to attend peace talks in Ethiopia.

A rebel spokesman said a ceasefire would be signed if they were freed.

Speaking to BBC News, spokesman Hussein Mar Nyuot dismissed claims from the South Sudanese government that its forces were now in full control of Unity State.

He also described as baseless a government allegation that forces loyal to Mr Machar had damaged oil facilities there.

In another development, South Sudan's Oil Minister, Stephen Dhieu Dau, visited Khartoum to discuss the impact of the conflict on the oil industry with his Sudanese counterpart, Makawi Mohammed Awad.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 after a long and bloody conflict, to become the world's newest state. (BBC)