The United States evacuated more embassy staff on Friday from South Sudan's capital Juba due to worsening security in the country, where clashes between rebels and the army risk turning into full-blown civil war.
The fighting, which began on December 15, has split the world's newest state along ethnic lines, between President Salva Kiir's Dinkas and former vice president Riek Machar's Nuer group, and raised fears of regional instability.
Kiir's government and the rebels have sent negotiators to neighboring Ethiopia for peace talks. They have yet to meet face-to-face but have separately met mediators from the East African bloc IGAD.
"We are not suspending our operations. We are just minimizing our presence," Susan Page, the US ambassador to Juba, told Reuters.
An emergency message to US citizens on the embassy's website said the move was due to a "deteriorating security situation". It said there would be an evacuation flight on Friday arranged by the US State Department.
Kiir's government and the rebels loyal to Machar have agreed to a ceasefire, mediators say, but there is no agreement yet on a starting date and some diplomats say both sides still seem more intent on maneuverings for military advantage.
(c) 2014 Egypt Independent. All rights reserved. Provided by Syndigate.info, an Albawaba.com company
Original headline: US embassy to evacuate more staff from South Sudan
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