Kerry convenes with South Sudanese President Kiir

JUBA (CIHAN)- Following the meeting with the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir in Juba, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the President has agreed to meet his rival Riek Machar and is considering forming a transitional government in effort to end the crisis in South Sudan.

Kerry, who described their discussion as “in-depth, very frank and thorough”, said he had made it clear to the South Sudanese leader that he needed to do everything in his power to end the violence.

“Throughout the meeting I made it clear to him that he needs to do everything in his power to end the violence and also to begin a process of national dialogue – a process by which there is the beginning of discussions – real discussions – about a transitional government that can bring peace to the country.”-said Kerry.

Kerry said President Salva Kiir has committed to this.

“He committed very clearly his intention to do exactly that – to take forceful steps in order to move to end the violence and implement cessation of hostilities agreement and to begin to engage on a discussion with respect to a transitional government.” – said Kerry.

He added that President Kiir was willing to travel to Addis Ababa as early as next week to meet with Ethiopian Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn “and hopefully with Riek Machar who had previously indicated to the prime minister a willingness to do so”.

ondemning the violence which has left thousands dead, millions displaced and the country at the risk of famine, Mr. Kerry said both the government and opposition must work immediate for a cessation of hostilities and move towards an understanding about future governance.

“And it is possible as we have seen the warnings – because people have not been able to plant their crops that there could be major famine in the course of the months ahead if things don’t change. Both sides are now reportedly recruiting child soldiers and there are appalling accounts of sexual violence in the conflict.” – said Kerry.

The Secretary of State said that he told President Kiir that the choices he and the opposition face are stark and clear. Kerry called on both sides to do more to facilitate the work of humanitarian actors and to remember their responsibilities to their people.

He said the South Sudanese have suffered and sacrificed far too much to travel down the dangerous road the country is in today.

“It is absolutely critical that to prevent that moment of historic promise from becoming a modern day catastrophe, we all need to work harder to support the hopes of the people and to restore those hopes.”- said Kerry.

He said the United States is prepared, on short order, to put sanctions in place against those who target innocent people, and those who wage a campaign of ethnic violence, or who disrupt the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Kerry also noted that it was urgent to secure an additional UN Security Council mandate in order to be able to deploy more peacekeeping troops in the country.

SOURCE: CIHAN

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