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South Sudan president calls for end to violence

South Sudan

President calls for end to violence

South Sudan President Salva Kiir implored his country to turn away from ethnic violence and met Friday with foreign ministers from neighboring states, including Kenya and Ethiopia, who flew into Juba, the capital, to help calm tensions after a week of ethnic strife that is estimated to have killed hundreds. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Ambassador Donald Booth, would be traveling to the region immediately. Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, this week said an attempted coup had triggered the violence, and the blame was placed on ousted Vice President Riek Macha, an ethnic Nuer. The U.N. peacekeeping mission strongly condemned an attack on a U.N. base in Jonglei state on Thursday that killed two Indian peacekeepers, injured a third, and also killed at least 11 civilians.

Switzerland

Officials advance plan for Syria peace talks

Syria's government and the opposition have committed to take part in a peace conference next month and will soon name their delegations, but Iran's participation remains blocked by the United States, Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. special envoy coordinating preparations, said Friday in Geneva.

Ministers from 26 countries will attend the opening of the conference, set for Jan. 22, Brahimi told reporters after meeting with officials from the United States and other nations.

• Britain's Foreign Office said Friday that the government will help the international mission to destroy Syria's chemical weapons program, joining a complex operation with prominent roles for the United States, Denmark and Norway.

Elsewhere

Washington: There is no evidence of widespread misconduct within the Secret Service, according to a Homeland Security Department inspector general's report on Friday.

Washington: President Barack Obama on Friday formally nominated Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., as the new ambassador to China.

Spain: Spain's conservative government on Friday approved tight restrictions on abortion, allowing the practice only in the case of rape or when there is a serious health risk to the mother or fetus.

Britain: Authorities inspected London's West End theaters Friday, trying to avoid any collapses like the one at the Apollo Theater, where a falling ceiling injured 80 people Thursday.

Times wires

South Sudan president calls for end to violence 12/20/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 20, 2013 10:59pm]
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