UN chief welcomes South Sudan’s mediation efforts

posted in: Africa

New York, US (PANA) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the appointment of a mediation team to work with government of South Sudan and the opposition to reach a ceasefire in the current conflict, which has taken a heavy toll on the world’s youngest nation.

A UN statement Sunday quoted Ban Ki-moon as commending the East African regional bloc, the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), for its efforts and the outcome reached at its summit on 27 Dec. in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

“All violence, attacks and human rights abuses must end immediately,” he said, while reminding those responsible that they will be held accountable and calling on the government and all concerned to ensure that the rights and security of civilians are protected.

The UN chief also reiterated that the global body stands with the people of South Sudan and will continue to do everything within its means to protect civilians at risk and provide necessary humanitarian assistance.

At Saturday’s summit, IGAD issued a communique in which it condemned the violent escalation of conflict in South Sudan, called on all parties to refrain from steps that will inflame the conflict further particularly along ethnic and sectarian lines, and strongly condemned the “bankrupt and opportunistic ideology” of ethnic and religious sectarianism.

The regional bloc also welcomed the commitment by the government of South Sudan to immediate begin unconditional dialogue with all stakeholders and to an immediate cessation of hostilities.

It called on Mr. Machar and other parties to make similar commitments, warning that if hostilities do not cease within four days of the issuance of the communique, IGAD would consider taking further measures.

The conflict began on 15 Dec. when President Salva Kiir’s government said soldiers loyal to former deputy president Riek Machar, dismissed in July, had launched an attempted coup.

The fighting has led to well over a thousand deaths and the displacement of at least 122,000 people, some 63,000 of whom have taken refuge in UN bases in the country.