June 4, 2014 (NEW YORK) - The UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, urged on Wednesday president Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar to immediately end the fighting in South Sudan and abide by the recently signed ceasefire agreements.
- UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon (UN)
In a telephone call with both president Kiir and SPLM-In-Opposition leader, the UN secretary-general said he was alarmed by reports on the resumption of hostilities in several areas between the government troops and rebels.
Ban Ki-moon “expressed his grave concern that hostilities have continued in violation of the 23 January Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities and the 9 May Agreement between President Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar to resolve the crisis in South Sudan,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement issued Wednesday.
In a separate call with the former vice-president, Ban “reiterated his deep concern that hostilities have continued in violation of the 23 January Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities and the 9 May Agreement between President Kiir and former Vice-President Machar to resolve the crisis in South Sudan,” Dujarric said later.
Since the eruption of hostilities in the South Sudan capital, Juba on 15 December last year between troops loyal to the two South Sudanese leaders, over one million persons have been displaced and many more fled to its neighbouring countries.
Also thousands have been killed, but there are no real estimations about the number of victims. The international community was also concerned by the ethnic character of atrocities and war crimes committed in its Unity and Jonglei state capitals last April.
The UN chief, in his telephone conversations with the two leaders, emphasised on the need for both parties to abide by the signed agreements and end all military operations “immediately”.
He further urged them to honour their commitment and to meet on 9 June to review the progress achieved in the implementation of the 9 May agreement, and to reach an agreement on substantive issues, including transitional arrangements.
The two leaders agreed last May to meet on monthly basis to review the implementation of the signed deal. They also agreed that the formation of a transitional government of national unity offers the best chances for country to end the conflict and implement critical reforms agreed by the parties.
South Sudan army (SPLA) spokesperson, Col. Philip Aguer said in a statement issued Monday that the rebels attempted to attack government forces in Upper Nile and Unity states, but were repulsed.
“From 31st May to 2nd June, forces of Riek Machar have been violating the ceasefire in Nassir, Bailet and Upper Nile State and Walkai in Unity State,” Aguer said in a statement, stressing that the government had already notified the monitoring and verification team about these “unacceptable” acts.
In his conversation with the president Kiir, Ban called for support to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in the implementation of its new mandate as endorsed by the UN Security Council (UNSC) on 27 May.
The UNSC recently extended the mandate of its South Sudan mission giving civilian protection, security address and humanitarian issues as country’s key priority areas.
The UN chief earlier requested the Security Council to review needs on the ground, and provide an updated assessment of the force’s operations, deployment and future requirements 120 days after the 27 May adoption of the resolution.
He however welcomed the UNSC resolution as well as its decision on deployment within the mission of an Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) task force to support protection of civilians and the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVM) established pursuant to the 23 January cessation of hostilities agreement.
On 29 April after the attack on UN compound in Bor where armed men killed over 58 residents, the UN secretary-general called president Kiir asking him to bring the perpetrators of this ethnic attack to justice and to intervene personally to stop the negative campaign against UNMISS staff and issue a public statement to this end.