UN Secretary General Calls For Dialogue to End South Sudan Crisis

UN Sec Gen addresses a meeting. UNMISS Photo

UN Sec Gen addresses a meeting. UNMISS Photo

Juba – So many people have been killed in South Sudan’s conflict, that the country’s leaders should feel “a sense of political responsibility”, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the end of a one-day visit to Juba today.
“The people of South Sudan have suffered for too long and fought so hard for freedom,” he said. “The conflict destroying this fragile young country is senseless. What I have seen and heard today breaks my heart and enrages my soul.”
Mr. Ban said he was proud of the courage shown by UNMISS when the mission opened its gates, saving tens of thousands of lives. He noted, however, that the country should never have been allowed to fall so deep into a crisis in the first place.
The Secretary-General said that although UN member states can raise the issue of sanctions, the only viable way to resolve the crisis is through dialogue, not military means.
“There is no time to lose. I urge the political leaders to put aside their grievances and end the bloodshed immediately,” he said.
Mr. Ban, who on Tuesday met with President Salva Kiir and spoke to opposition leader Riek Machar on the phone, commended steps taken in the past days to initiate reconciliation. He noted that President Kiir today reiterated his willingness to travel to Addis Ababa to hold talks with Dr. Machar by 9 May.
“I received a call from Dr. Riek Machar. I explained my position that it is incumbent upon the two leaders to sit down together and address this crisis through dialogue in a peaceful way,” he said.
He added that Dr. Machar had told him he had been invited by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and he had responded positively that he would be in Addis Ababa for the meeting in time.
“As Secretary-General, I expect that the Prime Minister would facilitate dialogue between the two leaders,” said Mr. Ban.
“The fighting must end. Much damage has already been done, it may take long to heal,” he added. “The country’s leaders must close the wounds they have opened. They must support justice and accountability for crimes committed and they must act to address the root causes of the conflict.”
He pledged continued commitment by the United Nations and its partners to support South Sudan’s recovery, stability and progress.
Source: UNMISS

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