UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday welcomed the work of East African countries in peacefully resolving the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, offering his "full support" to the regional efforts.
"The secretary-general welcomes the outcome of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Summit held on 27 December, appointing a mediation team to work with the government of South Sudan and opposition in reaching a cease fire, the release of the detainees and building toward a process of peaceful dialogue," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesperson.
In the statement, Ban pledged that the United Nations stands with the people of South Sudan and will continue to do everything within its means to protect civilians at risk and provide necessary humanitarian assistance.
"All violence, attacks and human rights abuses must end immediately," he stressed, adding that those responsible will be held accountable.
The UN chief also called on the government and all concerned in South Sudan to ensure the rights and security of civilians are protected.
According to reports, at the IGAD summit held on Friday in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, the East African bloc issued a communique in which it condemned the violent escalation of conflict in South Sudan, the world's youngest country which only gained independence in 2011 after seceding from Sudan.
The conflict began on Dec. 15 when President Salva Kiir's government said soldiers loyal to former deputy president Riek Machar, dismissed in July, launched an attempted coup.
According to the UN, the fighting has led to well over a thousand deaths and the displacement of at least 122,000 people, some 63,000 of whom have taken refuge in UN bases in the country.
News Analysis: Ceasefire remains under horizon in South Sudan
KHARTOUM, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Although Juba agreed to end fighting with defectors loyal to former a former vice president, peace remains hard to reach in South Sudan as the conflicting sides are divided on a true ceasefire.
The South Sudanese government said via Twitter: "We have agreed in principle to a ceasefire to begin immediately, but our forces are prepared to defend themselves if attacked." Full story
South Sudan army says not received cease-fire order
KHARTOUM, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan's army on Saturday said it has not received any order to end fighting with forces loyal to former South Sudan vice-president Riek Machar.
"We have not received any order to cease fire," Philip Aguer, an army spokesperson, told Xinhua by phone, adding the army was continuing its operations against the rebels. Full story
First batch of UN peacekeeping reinforcements reaches South Sudan
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations said on Friday the first batch of peacekeeping reinforcements has arrived at Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
A 72-officer-strong Bangladeshi police unit that was originally serving the UN mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo reached Juba, said the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), which has been confirmed to Xinhua by UN spokesperson's office. Full story