United States Urges An End to the Fighting in South Sudan

In response to the sudden and serious decline in the security situation in South Sudan, the United States is in active communication with African Union and regional leaders at the most senior levels to jointly press the South Sudanese leaders and their commanders to end the fighting.

U.S. Department of State Spokesperson John Kirby released statements on July 9 and July 10 condemning the latest outbreak of violence and calling on President Kiir and First Vice President Machar as well as their political allies to immediately restrain their forces from fighting. In those statements, Spokesperson Kirby underscored the need for all parties to end the violence stating, “We again call on both leaders and their political allies and commanders to immediately restrain their forces from further fighting, return them to barracks, and prevent additional violence and bloodshed. The United States is determined to ensure appropriate measures are taken to hold accountable those responsible for continuing fighting and violations of international humanitarian law, including attacks on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and targeting of civilians.”

Today, Spokesperson Kirby gave an update on the United States’ efforts to engage all parties during a briefing to members of the press. Referring to efforts on-the-ground, he noted, “[U.S.] Ambassador [to South Sudan Mary Catherine] Phee, has spoken repeatedly with senior officials on both sides and today we welcome the presidential decree declaring a unilateral ceasefire to take effect at 6 o'clock. We also welcome the commitment conveyed by first Vice President Machar to reciprocate with the unilateral cease-fire for opposition forces.”

He continued, “The United Nations Security Council, the African Union, and regional partners have been actively engaged in calling on the leaders in South Sudan to commit to the full and immediate implementation of the peace agreement, including the permanent ceasefire. We strongly urge that the two leaders do everything in their power to ensure these decrees will be fully respected and unfettered humanitarian assistance will be provided to those affected by the violence.”
Spokesperson Kirby also shared that Secretary Kerry remains very engaged noting, “He spoke yesterday with Prime Minister Hailemariam and President Kenyatta regarding a coordinated regional response to the unrest. The UN Security Council yesterday discussed as well how to enhance the UN mission in South Sudan... to better enable the mission to prevent and respond to violence. We are in active communication with partners on appropriate next steps.”
The Spokesperson also outlined our continued communication with partners on appropriate next steps and discussed our focus on an ordered departure from our post in Juba. He advised, “We are ... simply adjusting our footprint in response to the deterioration in the security situation. We are also in constant communication with U.S. citizens in Juba, and we released a Travel Warning yesterday evening."
"Protecting American citizens and ending the fighting ... remain our top priorities in South Sudan," he reiterated. "And we are working closely with senior leaders, the African Union, and regional partners to do so."
For more information:
People walk with their belongings in the capital Juba, South Sudan on July 9, 2016.
Posted by DipNote Bloggers
July 11, 2016


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