UN urges South Sudan parties to cease hostilities after recent offensive

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Continuous fighting around the Jonglei State capital Bor has driven an estimated 136,000 South Sudanese civilians across the River Nile into Awerial County in Lakes State. Photo: UNMISS/Wade Mageng

Warring parties in South Sudan are being urged to cease hostilities and to uphold their responsibility to protect civilians.

The appeal was made by the United Nations in a statement issued on Saturday in the wake of a recent government offensive in the Upper Nile region which forced 25,000 to flee their homes.

South Sudan gained independence nearly six years ago but fighting between rival forces that began in December 2013 led to scores of deaths and widespread displacement.

Clashes have continued despite the signing of a peace agreement in August 2015.

Dianne Penn reports.

The statement, issued by the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, said the renewed upsurge in fighting "represents a callous and blatant disregard" of pledges made during a summit last month aimed at bringing about a ceasefire and facilitating humanitarian access.

It called on all sides to ensure humanitarians have safe access to civilians in "imminent danger" along the West Bank of the River Nile.

"There can be no military solution to the crisis in South Sudan," the statement continued, expressing hope that the parties will be encouraged to return to the negotiating table.

The UN remains committed to working with the African Union and regional body IGAD to secure a peaceful resolution of the conflict, the statement concluded.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

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