South Sudan Rebels Say They’re Ready to Sign Cease-Fire Accord

South Sudanese rebels are prepared to sign a cease-fire accord today that includes an agreement that Ugandan troops withdraw from the country, rebel spokesman Mabior Garang said.

The agreement excludes the rebels’ earlier demand for the “immediate release” of detainees held after violence erupted in the country on Dec. 15, Garang said in a phone interview today from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

“There’s going to be a signing ceremony” at 3 p.m. of an accord on ending hostilities, he said. “The detainees issue is more complicated because they will not be released immediately; it doesn’t say anything about their immediate release.”

Government and rebel negotiators have been holding peace talks in Addis Ababa since Jan. 13. Fighting broke out in South Sudan last month after President Salva Kiir accused former Vice President Riek Machar of trying to stage a coup, a charge Machar denies. The dispute escalated into clashes between members of Kiir’s ethnic Dinka community and Machar’s Nuer group. The death toll in the conflict is approaching 10,000, according to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, while the United Nations says half a million people have fled their homes.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa at wdavison3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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