The government of South Sudan and the rebel forces that are contesting its authority have signed a cessation of hostilities agreement, a crucial step toward ending more than a month of fighting and restoring peace in the troubled East African nation. Under the pact, both sides agreed to cease military operations and allow humanitarian groups to have access to civilians in need. It follows weeks of negotiations between the parties conducted in Ethiopia under the auspices of regional leaders.
Under the pact, both sides agreed to cease military operations and allow humanitarian groups to have access to civilians in need.
The United States has monitored the situation closely since fighting broke out in mid-December with a political struggle that erupted into violence and subsequently took on ethnic dimensions. We welcome the cease-fire as a critical first step toward ending the crisis. It is, however, only a step, setting the stage for a longer process needed to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict, foster reconciliation and hold accountable those who committed horrific abuses against the South Sudanese people.
Understanding that tensions remain high and violence could flare again, we call on all of South Sudan’s leaders to honor their commitments by working quickly and earnestly toward an inclusive and comprehensive political dialogue. With the International Authority on Development and other partners in the region, we will continue to support the expedited release of those detained in Juba and elsewhere, and to ensure their meaningful participation in a political dialogue. Given the needs of the thousands of South Sudanese who have been displaced by the fighting, we also call on the parties to facilitate aid by humanitarian groups to all in need, regardless of location.
The United States continues to stand with the people of South Sudan, the United Nations mission there and all those working under difficult and dangerous conditions to alleviate the suffering and protect innocent civilians affected by the crisis.