South Sudan's Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin (R) greets U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry upon his arrival aboard a U.S. military airplane at Juba international airport May 2, 2014. REUTERS/Saul Loeb/Pool
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South Sudan's president agreed Friday to meet with his rival as soon as next week to jumpstart peace talks that have been stalled for months, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said, potentially laying the groundwork for a new government to bring the world's newest nation out of bloodshed.Kerry met for about 90 minutes with President Salva Kiir in his lush office compound in the capital Juba and later emerged to announce a tentative agreement for the peace talks in Ethiopia. Kerry said Kiir's rival, the former vice president-turned-rebel Riek Machar, has previously indicated he would engage in cease-fire discussions. Kerry said a cease-fire would likely lead to a transitional government in South Sudan but declined to comment on whether Kiir or Macher could have a role in the country's future leadership.If Kiir and Macher fail to move strongly to curb the violence, or if other fighters continue to violate human rights and disrupt humanitarian aid, Kerry said they would be held accountable.
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