United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his former Vice-President, Riek Machar to put the interests of their people ahead of their own in order for peace to flourish in the war-torn country.
Mr. Ban’s call comes on the heels of press reports that the latest round of talks between President Kiir and his former deputy wrapped up over the weekend with a deal on a cease-fire between the two leaders and their respective factions, but without a broader agreement on running the world’s youngest country, which has been engulfed by war for more than a year.
The Secretary-General took note of the outcome of the negotiations and called on the leaders to prepare for the next round of talks that would focus on expeditiously ending the conflict.
“[Mr. Ban] regrets that neither of them compromised on a mutually acceptable power-sharing formula,” said a statement issued earlier today by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson.
The UN chief also called once again on both parties to “urgently and strictly” adhere to the Cessation of Hostilities agreement signed on 23 January 2014. Both leaders agreed to meet for negotiations in the agreement they signed in Addis-Ababa on 2 February 2015.
Now that the latest round of talks is complete, Secretary-General underscored the urgent need for both the President and former Vice President to agree on a comprehensive and inclusive peace agreement.
Such a pact will have to address key institutional reforms, including economic governance, reconciliation, and accountability for the crimes committed since the beginning of the conflict in a manner consistent with international standards, said the statement.
Mr. Ban commended the efforts of mediators and Heads of State and Government of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for tireless efforts and commitments to broker a peace agreement. The UN chief said that the UN stands by ready to assist in efforts to engage all involved parties.
The security situation in South Sudan has steadily deteriorated since political in-fighting between President Kiir and his former deputy, Mr. Machar, started in mid-December 2013. The hostilities subsequently turned into a full-fledged conflict that has sent nearly 100,000 civilians fleeing to United Nations bases around the country.
According to UN estimates, some 2.5 million people could be in need of food assistance in through March of 2015, especially if hostilities in the country continue through the dry season.