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China welcomes cease-fire deal in South Sudan

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China Friday welcomed a cease-fire agreement between the South Sudanese government and opposition forces, calling for its immediate implementation.

“China welcomes the ceasefire agreement reached between both the sides of the conflict and appreciates the unremitting efforts made by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and other parties,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a press briefing.

Qin said China hoped the two sides could immediately implement the agreement and create favourable conditions so that solutions could be found to related issues, Xinhua reported.

Under the mediation of the IGAD, the South Sudanese government led by President Salva Kiir and rebels loyal to Riek Machar, former vice president, agreed Thursday to end the fighting, which has claimed thousands of lives and displaced a million people.

The conflict in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, broke out Dec 15 when Kiir’s government claimed that soldiers loyal to Machar, who was dismissed in July last year, staged an attempted coup. Eleven pro-rebel leaders were detained by the government for their alleged role in the coup attempt.

“China has always supported the mediation efforts by the IGAD, and maintained close communication with all parties concerned to promote peace talks,” said Qin.

China would continue to coordinate and cooperate with relevant parties including the IGAD to help South Sudan restore stability at an early date, the spokesman added.

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