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U.N chief reiterates “deep” concerns over S. Sudan situation

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May 14, 2017 (LONDON) – The United Nations Secretary-General, Antionio Guterres has reiterated the world body’s deep concerns at the prevailing security and humanitarian situation in South Sudan, specifically citing the untold sufferings being inflicted on civilians.

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António Guterres (UN Photo)

The top U.N officials made these remarks on the margins of the London conference on Somalia, where the situation in South Sudan was discussed with a number of international stakeholders.

“He [Guterres] underlined the imperative of renewed regional and international efforts to bring to an end the unfolding tragedy in that country, in particular through the immediate cessation of hostilities, unfettered humanitarian access to the millions of people in need of assistance…”, partly reads a statement from the world body.

Also emphasized during the meeting, it added, was the need for South Sudan government to allow the freedom of movement for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the promotion of a credible and truly inclusive process involving all opposition forces in line with the principles enshrined in the August 2015 Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS).

The Secretary-General recognized the commitment of all his interlocutors to further enhance efforts towards ending the violence tearing South Sudan apart, bearing also in mind the need to prevent further negative repercussions on regional security and stability.

“The United Nations looks forward to working closely with the IGAD and the AU in the period ahead to identify practical steps that would help arrest the current downward trend towards greater fragmentation of South Sudan, escalating violence and deepening hardship and sustainably put the country put back on the track of peace and reconciliation,” further stressed the U.N statement.

Last week, Guterres met the Chairperson of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, with discussions mainly focused on the South Sudan war.

South Sudan has witnessed renewed clashes between forces loyal to South Sudan President Salva Kiir and the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) backing the country’s former First Vice-President Riek Machar, in spite of the August 2015 peace agreement.

Up to 50, 000 civilians in South Sudan’s Upper Nile region are at imminent risk of human rights violations as government troops close in, the U.N High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein recently warned.

(ST)

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