South Sudan "on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe"

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Edmond Mulet. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

South Sudan, which became the newest independent African country three years ago, is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.

This warning was made by the Deputy Chief of UN peacekeeping operations, Edmond Mulet, in his report to the Security Council on Wednesday.

The country has been plagued by a conflict between government forces and troops loyal to former Vice-President Riek Machar who was sacked last year.

Although there have been meetings between South Sudanese President Salvar Kiir and Mr. Machar, fighting has continued in the country, said Mr. Mulet.

"After three years of independence, South Sudan is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe and a protracted internal conflict. This is a man-made crisis, and those responsible for it have been slow in resolving it. Both sides continue to believe that they can achieve more through the pursuit of a military option. There is an urgent need for the international community to speak with one voice to incentivise the parties on a meaningful participation in the peace talks."

Mr. Mulet added that what is more important is for the international community to caution the warring parties with one voice on the consequences of impeding the peace process and the futility of pursuing the military option.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

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