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All South Sudan Parties Must Heed Peace Agreement


A file photo taken Jan. 19, 2016 shows displaced people walking next to a razor wire fence at the United Nations base in the capital Juba, South Sudan.

Eight months ago, the leaders of South Sudan’s two main warring parties, President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, signed a peace agreement to end the conflict that for 20 months had devastated the young nation.

Eight months ago, the leaders of South Sudan’s two main warring parties, President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, signed a peace agreement to end the conflict that for 20 months had devastated the young nation. Since then, progress on implementing the agreement has been far too slow, marked by delays and obstruction from both sides.

South Sudan’s conflict is nearly half as old as the country itself, having erupted in December 2013 during a power struggle between President Kiir and Machar, his former Vice President. Fighting reopened ethnic fault lines between Kiir's Dinka and Machar's Nuer ethnic groups. Unknown thousands of people have been killed and more than 2.2 million driven from their homes, with many fleeing to neighboring states.

The United States condemned recent actions by both sides in the Wau area. The actions by government troops were in clear violation of the permanent ceasefire provisions, which apply nationwide and were agreed to by all signatories of the peace agreement. Additionally, credible reports that the opposition and associated armed actors recently attacked government forces and civilians in the same area also represent a violation of the ceasefire. The United States condemns all such actions.

Moreover, the United States has urged all parties to resolve disputes through dialogue. Disputes related to ceasefire implementation and cantonment should be referred to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission and other relevant mechanisms outlined in the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.

There is no military solution to the conflict in South Sudan. All parties must fulfill their commitments to implement the provisions of the peace agreement in full. This is the only way to heal the country, repair its ailing economy, and give the people of South Sudan the peace and stability they deserve.

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