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US envoy calls for meaningful negotiations between South Sudan leaders

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July 23, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudanese rival leaders must engage in meaningful negotiations to avert an imminent famine as a result of the country’s ongoing conflict, US special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan said on Wednesday.

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US envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth speaks to reporters in Juba on 23 July 2014 (US embassy photo)

Donald Booth said his country would do everything within its power to pressure the two parties to dialogue and form a transitional government.

Booth told reporters in Juba that “3.8 million, almost 4 million, people are at this point already experiencing severe food insecurity. And this is not a result of drought or floods. This is a result of conflict, a man-made catastrophe”.

Nearly 1.4 million people have forced out of their homes as a result of the seven-month old conflict in the young nation, with up to 300,000 displaced into neighboring Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan.

“We are working with the parties to the conflict, with other stakeholders from South Sudan; civil society, religious leaders, political parties to try to put an end to the conflict so that this humanitarian situation is can begin to be turned around before so many South Sudanese begin to suffer [from] starvation,” the US special envoy said.

In May, the US pledged nearly $300 million for humanitarian crisis for South Sudan during a donor conference held Oslo, Norway. Recently, it provided additional $22 million for South Sudan’s humanitarian needs.

Booth, however, assured that America’s commitment to the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan will not wither.

“The United States is by far the largest contributor of humanitarian assistance to South Sudan. This is one of the reasons the United States is determined to try to bring about serious peace talks,” he said.

Booth said the US still had the “leverage” to ensure that South Sudan government and opposition negotiated peacefully, citing the recent sanctions slapped on two military officers for allegedly blocking the peace process.

“I think the important thing though is the parties to the talks. If they can get beyond the discussion they have been having to-date and actually begin to deal with real issues that are facing South Sudan,” he said.

Talks between the two rival leaders, mediated by East African regional body, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), is considered the best way of ending the more than seven-month-long conflict in the country.

(ST)

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  • 23 July 22:58, by Bentiu Sudan

    Thank you Envoy, South Sudan need a transitional government. Our president brought us shame. President Kiir believe in military solution. Kiir treats South Sudanese like his own wives and his own children. President Kiir treats the citizens of South Sudan like babies in diapers. Please take him to ICC for killing innocents citizens.

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    • 23 July 23:36, by Ito

      Thank you so much Envoy for calling for a solution. The only advise to you is to send this message to the government as they are the one not interested in peace. The visionary, charismatic and democratic leader Dr. Riek should be the captain of the ship is you the world really want to help south sudan, there is no any other way. The government is tribalic and will continue to be until its last day

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    • 24 July 07:21, by Chol A.

      Beantiu nyagat son, you always over look who had killed innocent civilian in this conflict but believe me or not Riek will be first to face ICC. I know you don’t believe it now but don’t be sad when it happen. All Riek’s attitudes since Sudan was one upto this stage had been notice by international communities and he was found has a killer who committed so many atrocities indirectly to us all.

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      • 24 July 16:29, by Akook

        US is the only country with the most leverage to immediately end crisis in South Sudan. But I don’t think they are serious to do that either. I wonder seeing them talking they want peace in South Sudan! Look at how they started slapping sanctions on Generals who hardly speak English and know nothing about outside world, let alone having property or interest in United States!

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