South Sudan peace deal at "critical stage"

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Hervé Ladsous. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

A months-old peace agreement in South Sudan has been repeatedly violated by both sides in the country's conflict, the head of UN peacekeeping told the Security Council on Wednesday.

President Salva Kiir and opposition leaders signed the deal in August, aimed at bringing an end to nearly two years of politically-motivated fighting in the world's youngest nation.

However, UN peacekeeping chief Hervé Ladsous said fighting continues in a conflict that has already caused the deaths of thousands of people and displaced more than two million others.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Ladsous said the South Sudan peace agreement was at a "critical stage."

He described its implementation as making "very slow and painful progress."

He reported that both parties have repeatedly violated a ceasefire, resulting in continued civilian casualties, displacement and an increase in humanitarian needs.

"A complete and immediate cessation of hostilities is the first major and genuine contribution to the peace process that the two parties owe to their population, to their people. Nonetheless, we continue to see incessant and continuous clashes on the ground. We see continued combat which is seeking to consolidate military position or to retake land before the transition process kicks in. And we're seeing that not just in terms of military operation but at the political level as well."

Mr Ladsous also briefed the Council on a proposed new concept of operations for the UN Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS.

This includes increasing troops to monitor the ceasefire.

However, he said "no amount of troops or police can replace the political will required of the leaders of South Sudan to bring an end to their conflict."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’18″

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