Ban Ki-moon in South Sudan urging leaders to dialogue for peace

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Secretary-General meeting with President of South Sudan. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The United Nations Secretary-General is in South Sudan to urge the country's leaders to find peace through dialogue.

Africa's newest nation has been in crisis since December 2013 following a power struggle between the president and his former deputy.

Ban Ki-moon told journalists he was there "with a sad and heavy heart", after visiting displaced persons sheltering in the UN Mission's compound.

Mr Ban also met with the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir.

He said he was encouraged by Mr Kiir's willingness to dialogue with his opponent and former Vice-President, Riek Machar.

” I think it is absolutely necessary at this time, since this crisis has begun from political issues, that President Salva Kiir and Dr. Machar sit down together to address this issue through dialogue, in a peaceful way. That is what I am strongly supporting. “(0'20")

The Secretary-General also received a call from Dr Machar.

Over the phone, Ban Ki-moon stressed the two leaders' responsibility to sit down together and address the crisis.

Dr Machar and President Kiir are expected to be in Addis Ababa on 9 May for a meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

In the meantime, Mr Ban said the UN is committed to providing assistance to the people of South Sudan, and hopes that peace will prevail as soon as possible.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.

Duration: 1’34″

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