21 December 2013

South Sudan: Kiir, Rivals Agree On 'Unconditional' Dialogue

The South Sudanese leader, Salva Kiir, rivals Riek Machar and Rebecca Garang have agreed on an "unconditional" dialogue seeking to resolve the country's political turmoil, a United Nations envoy said Friday.

South Sudan president Salva Kiir (R) and Riek Machar paying respect at the grave of late South Sudanese rebel leader John Garang in Juba May 10, 2010(AP/Pete Muller)

The latest offer for dialogue, according to the UN Security Council president, came as a ministerial delegation from the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) countries prepare to meet over 10 political detainees held in connection with an alleged coup plot in the new nation.

"We hope the IGAD ministerial delegation will succeed in opening a political channel between Kiir and Machar," Gérard Araud told reporters at a briefing on Friday.

A high-level delegation from Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia and Uganda, are in South Sudan, a week after an outbreak of violence in the capital Juba, left about 500 dead,

At least 35, 000 people, the UN said, are currently displaced within its premises in Juba and Jonglei state, with fears of possible rise in numbers as the violence spreads to other parts of the country.

Describing the situation as a "political crisis" within the country's ruling party (SPLM), Araud, said dialogue is the only solution to the worst-ever violence in the country since its independence.

"We have heard reports of gross human rights violations", he said, adding, "The situation is tense".

Members of the Security Council, on Friday, expressed grave alarm and concern over the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian crisis in the two-year country.

The current political situation, it said, threatens serious implications for the country's long-term security and stability not only South Sudan, but its neighboring countries.

The Council, in a statement, strongly condemned the fighting and targeted violence against civilians and specific ethnic and other communities occurring across the country, resulting in hundreds of deaths as well displacement of tens of thousands.

Re-affirming their strong commitment to the country's sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity, the Security Council urged Kiir and his former vice president to demonstrate leadership in bringing a swift and peaceful resolution to this crisis by calling for a cessation of hostilities and immediately commence dialogue.

All the country's political detainees, it said, should be protected and encouraged the country's political and military leaders to engage in a political process of national reconciliation and constitutional reform through peaceful and inclusive means.

(ST).

Listen to the briefing : http://webtv.un.org/watch/grard-araud-france-on-south-sudan-security-council-media-stakeout-20-december-2013/2955682889001/

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