September 27, 2017 (JUBA) – The recent efforts by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to resuscitate South Sudan’s peace agreement is the last chance to salvage the August 2015 accord, a top U.S official said on Tuesday.
- President Salva Kiir greets First Vice President Riek Machar before to start a meeting at the South Sudanese presidency in Juba on 3 June 2016 (Photo Moses Lomayat)
“The different parties to the conflict must use the next several weeks to commit themselves to this process and to conclude it,” Nikki Haley, the U.S ambassador to the United Nations told the Security Council.
The official, who is due to be sent as the U.S special envoy to South Sudan, also urged South Sudanese leaders to seize this opportunity.
“Our hope is that South Sudan’s leaders will seize this opportunity, If not, we must resolve now, both individually and collectively – to do more to end this conflict,” Haley stressed.
The nearly five-year conflict in South Sudan has led to violence and destruction, which has seen over 2 million South Sudanese displaced and up to 6 million reportedly facing near-famine conditions.
The U.S, Haley further said, will do what it can to reduce the suffering in South Sudan, but appealed to the UN Security Council and regional actors to much more to end the war in the young nation.
The senior U.S official said Washington was particularly disappointed over the Security Council’s refusal to stem the flow of arms to South Sudan or to punish those who victimize their own people.
He also faulted the South Sudan government for failing to respond to the pleas of the 15-member Security Council to create an inclusive government and put an end to the fighting that has killed thousands.
“But our bottom-line message to the South Sudanese leaders will be that they seize this opportunity to take the initiative,” said U.S official.
He added, “They [South Sudan leaders] have a way to stop this violence”.
Earlier this month, the Donald Trump administration imposed economic and financial sanctions against individuals who have obstructed South Sudan’s peace process, denied access to humanitarian assistance, and interfered with peacekeeping mission.
The United Nations has a 12,000-strong peacekeeping mission in South Sudan and the Security Council last year approved an additional 4,000 peacekeepers from the region to help protect civilians after a series of reported gang-rapes and other assaults when fighting erupted in Juba in July 2016.
More than 200,000 civilians, according to the UN mission in the country (UNMISS) are being sheltered at sites across the country.
Haley, however, appealed to the government of South Sudan to welcome the assistance provided by the UN Mission and to cooperate with it in fulfilling its mandate for the people of South Sudan