South Sudan peace partners condemn opposition calls for armed resistance

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susan riceCountries that have been supporting the South Sudan peace process have condemned recent calls by the opposition led by Dr. Riek Machar for a renewal of armed conflict in the country. They said this in a statement that was circulated to the media.
Their statement is in response to an announcement last month by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) that it was planning to wage an armed resistance against the regime of President Salva Kiir. In response, the transitional government led by President Kiir issued a statement seeking regional support to declare the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) as a "terrorist" group.
The statement was made on behalf of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Troika, and European Union (EU), who are partners of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) that was set up last year in August after the signing of a peace agreement between President Kiir and Dr. Machar. The peace deal has all but collapsed, after Dr. Machar was forced to flee out of Juba sometime in July.
“Further fighting will not solve South Sudan’s pressing political and economic challenges. It will only increase the suffering of South Sudan’s people, worsen a grave humanitarian crisis, and further inflame ethnic tensions,” they said.
They expressed concern over fighting that is taking place in many parts of the country, blaming both the government and the opposition for the renewed violence.
“In line with the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, we call on the government and armed opposition groups to immediately adhere to the permanent ceasefire,” they said in a statement signed by Ethiopia, the European Union, Kenya, Norway, Uganda United Kingdom, Sudan and the USA.
The group added that the conflict in South threatens the peace and security of its neighbours and the region; they said that the solution to South Sudan’s problem is through genuine and inclusive dialogue representing the viewpoints of all South Sudanese people.
“We therefore call on the Transitional Government of National Unity and leaders of opposition groups alike to recommit themselves, consistent with the peace agreement, to peaceful dialogue,” they said.
They promised to support the process of rebuilding trust among South Sudanese, and urged leaders in the country to stop the senseless killings happening in the country.
Meanwhile, the US government has condemned the transitional government for obstructing humanitarian operations in the country. The US made its position clear in a meeting between National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice and First Vice President of South Sudan Taban Deng. The US government stressed the need for a rapid deployment of a Regional Protection Force in Juba. Earlier, the government had agreed in principle to allow this force but has sent mixed signals about that issue in recent weeks.
Ambassador Rice said the government of President Kiir should engage opposition groups in dialogue and ensure that it governs inclusively, with strong participation by women, and without domination by a single ethnic group or political party.

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