A team of international observers has arrived in Juba, capital of the troubled Republic of South Sudan, to establish a Monitoring and Verification Mechanism to ensure adherence to the cessation of hostilities agreement reached last month between the government and rebels contesting its authority.
Members of the monitoring and verification group will ultimately allow both sides a way in which to report any breeches of the agreement. The United States strongly supports these efforts and urges both the government and opposition leader Riek Machar to lend their unqualified support to the establishment of the mechanism.
We urge the government to free the remaining four opposition leaders being held and ensure their security.
South Sudan’s leaders need to fully implement the cessation of hostilities and start an inclusive political dialogue to pave the way for national reconciliation.
Seven political detainees have been released to date and have publicly stated their support for a peaceful resolution to a political crisis that erupted into violence and subsequently took on ethnic dimensions. The government agreed on January 23 to the release of all detainees, but four remain in custody. The expeditious release and transfer of all prisoners would reduce tension and build confidence in an inclusive reconciliation process and peace dialogue.
We urge the government to free the remaining four opposition leaders being held and ensure their security, as well as that of their families and associates. We will continue to partner with others in the international community, in particular, with the UN Mission in South Sudan, working under difficult and dangerous conditions there to alleviate the suffering and protect innocent civilians affected by the crisis.