The United States special envoy to South Sudan, Donald Booth, speaks to the media on December 31, 2013 in Juba. South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar agreed to send envoys to peace negotiations in Ethiopia Tuesday, but rejected face-to-face talks with President Salva Kiir, warning that his forces will continue to fight. The United States, which was a key backer of South Sudan's independence struggle, said the sending of negotiators was an important first step, special envoy Donald Booth said.
Machar, a former vice president accused of sparking deadly conflict by attempting a coup over two weeks ago, said his troops were still marching on the capital after claiming to have recaptured a key town.
â€œOur forces are still marching on Juba, there is no cessation of hostilities yet,â€ Machar told AFP via satellite telephone from an undisclosed location inside South Sudan.