30 March 2014

South Sudan: Western Nations Issue Strong Statement On South Sudan

South Sudan's Minister of Information is accusing the United States of interfering in its internal affairs by trying to influence the outcome of ... ( Resource: South Sudan Accuses U.S. of Meddling in Peace Process

The United States, United Kingdom and Norway -- has joined six European nations, Canada and the European Union (EU) to condemn government and rebel forces in the young country for human rights violations and for obstructing U.N. efforts in the war-torn country.

"We the Ambassadors and Chargé d'Affaires a.i. of the U.S., United Kingdom, Norway, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and the European Union strongly reiterate our support for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and its work on behalf of the international community for the people of South Sudan," the 10 nations and EU said in a statement released Friday.

"We strongly condemn the continued obstruction of UNMISS operations by Government and opposition forces and any threats to UNMISS personnel," it said, stressing that "all threats and attacks on United Nations personnel and facilities are unacceptable and may constitute violations of international law."

The statement condemned both the government and opposition forces for human rights abuse, for "violations of international humanitarian law that have resulted in the loss of lives, and internal displacements as well as refugees along the borders in neighboring nations."

The statement was released more than two months after the signing of a peace agreement for South Sudan, and as the United Nations reported that the number of people who have been forced from their homes in the young country has passed the one million mark.

The U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said late last week that 803,200 people have been displaced inside South Sudan and 254,600 have fled to neighboring countries.

The Western nations and EU expressed "concern at the dire humanitarian situation" and urged all parties to urgently allow humanitarian organizations unhindered access to populations in need.

The statement also called on the warring parties to take part in peace talks in Addis Ababa, mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), and said Western governments were "deeply concerned" by violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement signed on Jan. 23, which called for an immediate halt to all fighting.

The cessation of hostilities pact has been violated numerous times since then, with each side blaming the other for the breaches.

Tens of thousands of people are thought to have died in the conflict in South Sudan, which broke out on Dec. 15.

The statement by the troika is available here.

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