Talks to end the fighting in South Sudan opened in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on Friday.
Ethiopia’s foreign ministry has announced in a statement on Friday that negotiations had started.
Negotiators for the government and rebel sides have will be meeting face-to-face in the talks.
Meanwhile, the US has announced a “further drawdown” of its embassy staff in South Sudan because of the conflict.
At least 1,000 people have died since fighting erupted between supporters of President Salva Kiir and those of his sacked deputy Riek Machar last month.
More than 180,000 people have been displaced, and aid workers say many are living without shelter, clean water and sanitation.
What began as a power struggle between President Kiir and Mr Machar has taken on the overtones of an ethnic conflict, correspondents say.
Delegates from both sides began arriving in the Ethiopian capital on Wednesday but talks were delayed until the full negotiations teams had arrived.