January 4, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – South Sudan’s foreign minister, Barnaba Benjamin, has announced that he will visit Khartoum on Monday to deliver a letter from President Salva Kiir to his Sudanese counterpart, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, relating to the current situation in South Sudan.
- South Sudan Foreign Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin, April 2, 2012 (Getty)
Last month, clashes erupted in South Sudan with fighting among a group of soldiers in the capital, Juba. The violence quickly spread to several states, cleaving the nation along the ethnic fault line of rebel leader Riek Machar’s Nuer and President Salva Kiir’s Dinka.
Benjamin said in press statements in Juba on Saturday that Khartoum exerts positive efforts to achieve reconciliation between the conflicting parties in South Sudan, pointing that Khartoum seeks convergence of views between Kiir and Machar.
He pointed that Khartoum stands at an equal distance from both conflicting parties and criticized Washington’s decision to reduce the number of its embassy staff in Juba, describing the move as “unwise”.
Washington began to withdraw its non-essential staff in Juba since mid-December and said on Friday that it would evacuate more staff, urging all US nationals to leave South Sudan.
The US embassy said it would no longer be able to provide any consular services to U.S. citizens in the country starting 4 January.
The evacuation order comes as ceasefire talks get underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between the South Sudanese government delegation and rebels loyal the country’s former vice-president, Riek Machar.
East African regional leaders and the international community have backed calls for dialogue in a country, which suffered over two decades of civil war before a 2005 peace deal led to its independence from Sudan two years ago.