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South Sudan peace talks delayed

An African official who is working to organise peace talks between warring parties in South Sudan said that direct talks between the sides have been delayed.

Mahboub M. Maalim, the executive secretary of an East African bloc of states known as IGAD, said the talks have been delayed in part because no agenda has yet been set. Officials had hoped direct peace talks would begin today after preliminary talks were held.

Violence has spiralled across South Sudan since December 15. President Salva Kiir accuses the former vice president, Riek Machar, of an attempted coup.

Mr Machar denies the accusation but forces loyal to him now control two state capitals, including the town of Bor, about 70 miles north of the country capital, Juba.

AP

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