Voice of America (Washington, DC)

South Sudan: Obama Sends Message of Peace to South Sudan

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Photo: Hailemichael Gebrekrstos/UN
During the height of the fighting in Bor, civilians sought refuge at a compound of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.

The White House has released translations of U.S. President Barack Obama's message to South Sudan in the languages of the two main ethnic groups involved in bitter fighting that has rocked the world's newest nation for more than a week.

In the messages, Obama urges South Sudan's leaders to end the violence that has claimed hundreds of lives across the country and displaced tens of thousands of South Sudanese, and pull the country back from the edge of civil war.

Statement by the U.S. President on South Sudan

"In 2011, millions of South Sudanese voted to forge a new nation, founded on the promise of a more peaceful and prosperous future for all of South Sudan's people. In recent years, against great odds, South Sudan has made great progress toward breaking the cycle of violence that characterized much of its history.

Too much blood has been spilled and too many lives have been lost to allow South Sudan's moment of hope and opportunity to slip from its grasp.

Today, that future is at risk. South Sudan stands at the precipice. Recent fighting threatens to plunge South Sudan back into the dark days of its past.

But it doesn't have to be that way. South Sudan has a choice. Its leaders can end the violence and work to resolve tensions peacefully and democratically. Fighting to settle political scores or to destabilize the government must stop immediately. Inflammatory rhetoric and targeted violence must cease. All sides must listen to the wise counsel of their neighbors, commit to dialogue and take immediate steps to urge calm and support reconciliation. South Sudan's leaders must recognize that compromise with one's political enemy is difficult; but recovering from unchecked violence and unleashed hatred will prove much harder.

Too much blood has been spilled and too many lives have been lost to allow South Sudan's moment of hope and opportunity to slip from its grasp. Now is the time for South Sudan's leaders to show courage and leadership, to reaffirm their commitment to peace, to unity, and to a better future for their people. The United States will remain a steady partner of the South Sudanese people as they seek the security and prosperity they deserve."

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