Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed profound disappointment after the unsuccessful conclusion of peace talks in South Sudan and the failure of President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar to display statesmanship and reach a power-sharing deal.
The security situation in the world’s youngest country has deteriorated steadily over the past year since political in-fighting between the two leaders erupted in December 2013. The hostilities subsequently turned into a full-fledged conflict that has sent nearly 100,000 civilians fleeing to bases around the country managed by the UN Missions (UNMISS).
Peace talks were being conducted under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), which had also set a 5 March deadline for the conclusion of negotiations between the two parties.
A statement issued this afternoon, the UN spokesperson office said that the Secretary-General has reached out to all relevant leaders over the past two days to urge the continuation of negotiations.
“He urges both parties to refrain from any attempt to escalate the conflict and reiterates that there can be no military solution or alternative to a negotiated settlement. He appreciates the efforts and vital role played by IGAD and its special envoys in bringing peace to South Sudan. He supports IGAD's intention to expand the mediation to include other partners,” the office said.
The Secretary-General also recalled recent UN Security Council resolution 2206 (2015), and the Council's intention to impose targeted sanctions on individuals and entities who fail to abide by the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of 23 January 2014.
The crisis in South Sudan has uprooted an estimated 1.9 million people and placed more than 7 million at risk of hunger and disease, a recent peace deal between the warring factions had fostered hope of a definitive end to the year-long conflict.
According to the UN, in fact, the Organization’s bases across South Sudan are currently sheltering over 110,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) with an additional 1.5 million others displaced throughout the country and 500,000 outside the country.