South Sudan talks resume in Addis Ababa nightclub Gaslight

South Sudan peace talks, 13 January There is normally a strict no-photo policy at the exclusive nightclub

A shift in the venue for talks aimed at brokering a ceasefire in South Sudan has left some delegates bemused.

The government and rebel teams have moved to the dance floor of a top nightclub in an Addis Ababa hotel.

The Gaslight club was selected after the room in the Sheraton hotel the teams had been using was booked by a Japanese delegation.

Sources close to the talks said some delegates were unhappy with the poor lighting and excess noise.

Daytime talks

Behind the scenes

The Gaslight club, in the grounds of the five-star Sheraton hotel, is arguably the most opulent in Addis Ababa's thriving nightclub scene.

You enter it via a glass-floor bridge hovering over a mini-moat. There, three bars (one is a VIP members' only club) are arranged over three floors, with plush velvet soft seating and opulent art deco interiors in addition to padded leather bar stools.

Gaslight is where the rich and beautiful go to party. It enforces a strict no-photo policy. On a typical weekend night, the local elite are to be seen mixing with foreign NGO workers and diplomats with a few graduating university students or newly-weds depending on the time of year.

And should your dancing feet become weary, you can head upstairs for complementary al-fresco coffee, popcorn and small portions of diced beef and the local flatbread (enjera).

Talks aimed at securing the ceasefire in the month-long conflict in South Sudan have now resumed in the Ethiopian capital.

But the delegates are now in the basement of the luxury hotel, amid faux gold columns.

Their previous room has been taken over by the Japanese - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently visiting Addis Ababa at the end of his first tour of Africa.

The talks in the nightclub are at least taking place during the day - when the dance floor is not normally in use.

BBC Focus on Africa's Hewete Haileselassie says the Gaslight is arguably the most opulent in Addis Ababa's thriving nightclub scene and is where the rich and beautiful people go to party.

The negotiations are being overseen by the East African regional bloc, Igad.

The delegates hope to secure a ceasefire after a month of fighting that has left "substantially more than 1,000 dead", according to the UN.

The conflict began on 15 December between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and soldiers backing Riek Machar, his former vice-president.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 after a long and bloody conflict, to become the world's newest state.

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