UN chief urges South Sudan's president to extend an offer of dialogue to opponentsListen /
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his concern about the reports of fighting between members of the SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army) that broke out in Juba on Sunday night and of reports that members of certain communities were being targeted.
In a telephone conversation Tuesday with President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, the Secretary-General said that up to 13,000 civilians have sought refuge at the UN compounds in Juba; a large number of them are women and children. He expressed his hope that the security situation in Juba will quickly normalize so that civilians can safely return to their homes.
The Secretary-General urged all parties to cease hostilities immediately, and called on the Government to exercise restraint in the management of the situation and to guarantee the protection of all civilians regardless of their ethnicities.
Secretary-General Ban also called on the South Sudanese Government to extend an offer of dialogue to its opponents and to resolve their respective differences peacefully. He added that the UN is ready to extend its support to the Government to manage this difficult situation.
The Secretary-General urged the President to make sure that all security forces operate in full compliance with International Humanitarian Law. He said he was counting on the President to exercise real leadership at this critical moment, and to instill discipline in the ranks of the SPLA to stop this fighting among them.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.