UN and African partners underscore commitment to peace in South Sudan

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South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (left) met with UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. UN Photo/Antonio Fiorente.

The international community has repeated its call for an immediate cessation of hostilities in South Sudan.

The appeal was made in a statement issued on Sunday by the African Union (AU), regional bloc IGAD and the United Nations, following a joint meeting on the sidelines of the AU Summit currently underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres attended the meeting which was chaired by Ethiopian President Hailemariam Desalegn who also chairs IGAD, which brings together six East African nations.

South Sudan gained independence in July 2011 but forces loyal to the President and former Vice-President Riek Machar have been battling for more than three years despite signing a peace accord in August 2015.

Dianne Penn reports.

The three organizations expressed deep concern over the continued spread of fighting in South Sudan and the risk of inter-communal violence escalating into mass atrocities, as well as the dire humanitarian situation in the country.

They reaffirmed their continued commitment to finding lasting peace, security and stability in the world's youngest nation.

The partners stated that there can only be a political solution to the conflict within the framework of a peace agreement signed in  2015.

They reiterated their call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and also urged the parties to ensure that the political process is inclusive, both for the implementation of the peace agreement and a proposed National Dialogue.

They also underlined their commitment to further enhance cooperation in support of the peace process.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 52″

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