ADDIS ABABA, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) - - The African Union (AU) on Saturday called for an immediate truce in South Sudan, where fighting has been escalating for the past week.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of AU Commission, is following with deep concern the escalation of the conflict in South Sudan, an AU statement said, warning that the confrontation is in danger of becoming an all-out civil war.
In the statement, the chairperson urged the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), South Sudan stakeholders and the government and the opposition to take responsibilities and halt the slide towards civil war.
She said she is also deeply alarmed by the deteriorating humanitarian situation of civilian population, facing killings, violation of human rights and massive displacements.
The chairperson called for an immediate humanitarian truce for the Christmas season, as a sign of a commitment by all concerned to the well-being of the people of South Sudan.
Two and a half years ago, the AU welcomed the new nation of South Sudan into its ranks, with high expectations that this new country would become a beacon of peace, prosperity and hope, said the statement.
The chairperson reiterated the AU's wholehearted support to the efforts of foreign ministers of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), alongside the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security and the UN Special Representative to the AU, to secure an immediate end to hostilities in South Sudan.
She urged the government of South Sudan and the other belligerent parties to invite the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to monitor a cessation of hostilities and to undertake all necessary activities for the protection of civilians.
She also called upon the parties to the conflict to facilitate the free and unhindered movement of humanitarian personnel and supplies to affected people in South Sudan.
The chairperson is extremely saddened by the killing of innocent civilians and UN peacekeepers in Bor, capital of Jonglei State of South Sudan.
She condemned these killings as a war crime, and extended the AU's heartfelt condolences to their families.