December 30, 2013 (JUBA) - The United Nations Security Council has reiterated its support for regional efforts aimed at bringing to an end the fighting that erupted three weeks ago in South Sudan and threatens to plunge the new nation into full-scale war.
- A UN Security Council session on New York (UN photo)
In a statement issued Monday, the Council reiterated the need for dialogue between rebels and forces loyal to President Salva Kiir as proposed by regional leader at Friday’s summit in Nairobi, Kenya.
“The members of the Security Council reiterated their support to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD) efforts to bring about peace”, the Council’s statement reads in part.
IGAD leader, at the summit, agreed that both warring parties immediately cease hostilities in the three weeks of conflict that has killed over 1,000 people and displaced nearly 180,000 civilians.
The Council also underlined and repeated their call for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Kiir and his former deputy President Riek Machar, urging them to urgently engage in direct talks without preconditions.
There should be no further delays to cessation of hostilities and commencement of dialogue, stressed the UNSC members.
Aid agencies say up to $166m is urgently needed to address the humanitarian situations of the people in need of adequate food, health care, water and sanitation support as a result of the conflict.
Hilde Johnson, the head of the UN mission in South Sudan said the agency was “extremely” concerned that large numbers of armed youth were advancing towards the Jonglei state capital, Bor.
An aerial reconnaissance, conducted by the mission, reportedly identified some armed groups approximately 50 km north-east of Bor, as fears of possible attacks gripped the civilian population.
Bor, the capital of the country’s largest state was initially under rebel control, before its recapture by government forces on 24 December.
On Tuesday, however, South Sudan army (SPLA) confirmed the outbreak of clashes in Bor between rebels and pro-government soldiers, dwindling hopes for the much-hyped ceasefire deal.
Members of the Security Council, however, renewed their calls for full protection of civilians, foreign nationals and UN personnel, including their facilities as violence continues in the country’s key towns.
Meanwhile, the Council welcomed steps taken to strengthen human rights investigation capacity in its South Sudan mission, adding that those responsible for human right abuses will be held accountable.
They further condemned incidents of obstruction of UNMISS operations as it seeks to protect civilians and renewed their demand that all parties cooperate fully with UNMISS to allow for its full and immediate operability.