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South Sudan neighbours back president, urge peace talks

Published on Dec 27, 2013 9:19 PM
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(From left) Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta meet in the capital Juba, on Dec 26, 2013. South Sudan's neighbours threw their weight behind President Salva Kiir on Friday, Dec 27, 2013, after 13 days of fighting in the world's newest state, saying they would not accept any attempt to overthrow him and his democratically elected government. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NAIROBI (REUTERS) - South Sudan's neighbours threw their weight behind President Salva Kiir on Friday after 13 days of fighting in the world's newest state, saying they would not accept any attempt to overthrow him and his democratically elected government.

Western powers and regional governments fear clashes between government forces and those loyal to Kiir's former deputy could lead to an all-out ethnic-based civil war that would pose a danger to a fragile region with notoriously porous borders.

Addressing regional leaders at an emergency summit on South Sudan held by the east African body Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta urged Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar to seize "the small window of opportunity" and start peace talks.

"Let it be known that we in IGAD will not accept the unconstitutional overthrow of a duly and democratically elected government in South Sudan. Violence has never provided optimum solutions," Kenyatta said, according to a statement released by the State House.

 
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