April 18, 2018 / 1:15 PM / 5 months ago

CORRECTED-East Africa bloc postpones talks on South Sudan peace deal

(Corrects April 18 story in para 5 to show Machar is in South Africa not South Sudan)

JUBA, April 18 (Reuters) - The East African bloc of nations IGAD said on Wednesday it had postponed this month’s talks aimed at securing the implementation of South Sudan’s peace deal, the latest bid to end a four-year civil war.

Despite several agreements and ceasefires, fighting has rumbled on in South Sudan with barely any break since first erupting at the end of 2013, just two years after independence.

The government and rebel groups signed the latest ceasefire in December in the Ethiopian capital, aiming to revive a pact reached in 2015. But the truce was violated within hours.

IGAD, which was due to hold a new round of talks on April 26, and other international bodies have been seeking to resolve differences between the two sides, including working on the release of rebel leader Riek Machar.

The bloc said last month that Machar should be released from house arrest in South Africa as soon as possible, but on condition on that he renounces violence.

This month’s talks were due to be held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. But the bloc said they had been postponed, without giving a reason or setting a new date.

Civil war erupted in December 2013, when troops loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed with forces loyal to Riek Machar, then the vice president. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and much of the nation has faced dire food shortages.

Reporting by Denis Dumo Writing by Duncan Miriri Editing by Maggie Fick and Edmund Blair

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