Negotiators for the government of South Sudan and a rebel group challenging it are in Addis Ababa discussing a possible ceasefire after more than three weeks of fighting that has torn the country apart.
United Nations officials estimate that more than 1,000 people may have been killed since fighting started there last month. South Sudan’s crisis began on December 15th with a political struggle that erupted into violence and has subsequently taken on ethnic dimensions. Although this emergency is less than a month old, the roots of the conflict are much deeper, and resolution can only come through immediate dialogue between all parties.
The talks are of critical importance to the people of South Sudan, regardless of their political loyalties.
The United States is grateful for the extraordinary work of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a regional bloc, to bring the parties together. We strongly support the efforts of the mediators, former Ethiopian Minister Seyoum Mesfin and General Lazaro Sumbeiyo of Kenya, to find a peaceful solution through political dialogue.
The parties must use these talks to make rapid, tangible progress to end hostilities, provide access for humanitarian groups to those in need and resolve the status of all political detainees.
The talks are of critical importance to the people of South Sudan, regardless of their political loyalties. Forging a lasting and equitable peace depends on resolving the underlying political issues at the heart of the crisis through dialogue. The presence at the talks of our nation’s Special Envoy Donald Booth underscores the United States’ enduring commitment to making peace and reconciliation in South Sudan a reality.