Juba — The United States has ordered its embassy personnel in the South Sudan to leave in the wake of the country's deteriorating security situation.
U.S. ambassador to South Sudan Sudan D. Page (AP Photo)
An emergency statement from the US embassy in the capital, Juba urges its citizens living in the world's youngest nation to depart by Friday.
"On January 3, 2014, there will be an evacuation flight arranged by the Department of State to the nearest safe haven country," partly reads the statement on its website.
The embassy further said it would no longer be able to provide any consular services to U.S. citizens in the country starting 4 January.
"U.S. citizens who are not able to take advantage of the evacuation flight should review their personal security situation and strongly consider taking advantage of any existing commercial flights", adds the statement.
The evacuation order comes as ceasefire talks get underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between the South Sudanese government delegation and rebels loyal the country's former vice-president, Riek Machar.
East African regional leaders and the international community have backed calls for dialogue in a country, which suffered over two decades of civil war before a 2005 peace deal led to its independence from Sudan two years ago.
The US envoy to Juba has vowed to work together with the South Sudanese people to promote "nine days of peace and patriotism", leading to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) day.
"While the country's leadership may have signed the agreement which officially began the peace process in 2005, now, 2014, is the time for South Sudan's people to follow through with their own self-determination for peace", Susan Page said in a new year message.
Together, we are determined for January 9 to once again mark a cessation of hostilities, an end to violence, and an onset to peaceful beginnings throughout all of South Sudan, she added.
An outbreak of violence in the country mid-December last year has caused more than 1,000 deaths and nearly 200,000 people left homeless in various parts of the country.