US Calls For Cessation Of Hostilities
As fear of civil war looms in South Sudan, the United States of America today called for cessation of hostilities and to begin mediated political talks between the warring parties in the African country.
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said U.S. officials, including Secretary Kerry, have made calls to leaders throughout Africa and the world seeking a solution to the crisis in South Sudan.
Secretary Kerry has urged both South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar to accept a cessation of hostilities and begin mediated political talks.
According to Ms. Psaki, U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth is in Juba today to attempt to secure final commitment from both President Kiir and Former Vice President Machar to begin talks, and is working with leaders from the Inter-Governmental Authority for Government (IGAD) nations to arrange for the negotiations to begin in the coming days.
Calling For Cessation Of Hostilities
In addition, the US government is urging all parties to the crisis in South Sudan to implement an immediate cessation of hostilities.
The political talks could offer critical humanitarian access to populations in dire need and open a space for a mediated political dialogue between the opposing sides.
Ms. Psaki highlighted that the ability of the parties to implement the ceasefire will send a strong signal to the citizens of South Sudan and the world that as leaders they have the courage to accept compromise and work for the best interests of all of the people of this young nation.
“We hope and pray today that the leaders of South Sudan will acknowledge the international community’s commitment.” – Ms. Psaki
Ms. Psaki underlined that violence today will not pave the way for a more stable or prosperous tomorrow.
Pope Francis, celebrating his first Christmas, made a special mention of South Sudan, calling for “social harmony,” where, he said, “current tensions have already caused numerous victims and are threatening peaceful coexistence in that young state.”
Civil War May Rage In South Sudan
Earlier this week, South Sudan’s military lost control of a key town in the country’s east, to army mutineers.
The army lost Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, to a military faction associated with former Vice President Riek Machar, who denied any coup attempt. The former leader claimed that it is Kiir who is inciting ethnic tensions.
Jonglei state has been plagued with ethnic tension between the Nuer and Murle tribes in recent years with recurrent attacks and massacres of civilians.
Reports say the clashes between the country’s army and army mutineers have killed some 500 people, mainly soldiers.