WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday welcomed a ceasefire agreement between South Sudanese government and opposition forces, calling for an immediate implementation.
"I welcome today's signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement in South Sudan, which is a critical first step toward building a lasting peace," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House.
The government led by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar agreed earlier Thursday to end deadly fighting that has claimed thousands of lives and displaced a million people.
Obama urged South Sudanese leaders to work to "fully and immediately" implement the agreement and start an inclusive political dialogue to address the underlying causes of the conflict.
"In order to regain the trust of their people and the international community, South Sudan's leaders must demonstrate their sustained commitment to a peaceful resolution of the crisis," the U.S. president said.
The current conflict in South Sudan, the world's youngest country, broke out on Dec. 15 last year when Kiir's government claimed that soldiers loyal to Machar, who was dismissed last July, staged an attempted coup. Eleven pro-rebel leaders were detained by the government for their alleged role in the coup attempt.
"The full participation of political detainees currently being held by the Government of South Sudan will be critical to those discussions and we will continue to work to expedite their release," Obama said.
U.S. Assistant Secretary for Africa Linda Thomas-Greenfield said earlier this month that the U.S. found no evidence of coup and the violence in South Sudan erupted due to "a huge political rift" between Kiir and Machar.
"There is clear evidence that targeted killings have taken place," the top U.S. diplomat for Africa said at a Congressional hearing.
Obama also reiterated the U.S. position that individuals who have committed atrocities should be held accountable.
"Those working for a more peaceful, democratic, unified South Sudan will continue to have a steady partner in the United States of America," he added.
South Sudan warring parties sign cease-fire deal
ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The South Sudanese government and rebels signed a cease-fire agreement on Thursday here to end weeks of fighting that has killed thousands and displaced half a million civilians.
The agreement was reached between the government led by President Salva Kiir and rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar after weeks of slow-moving negotiations in the Ethiopian capital. Full Story
AU insists on urgency for South Sudan parties to sign truce
ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Nkozasana Dlamini-Zuma, has urged the rival parties in South Sudan to sign a truce, the pan-African bloc said in a statement released here Tuesday.
The call was made in a day-long official visit she paid Monday to Juba, capital of South Sudan. Full Story
UN airlifts humanitarian supplies to S. Sudan
NAIROBI, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The UN children's fund UNICEF said Tuesday its first of two charter planes, each carrying 35 tonnes of live-saving emergency supplies for children and women, arrived in South Sudan on Tuesday.
The essential supplies are expected to help thousands of children and women who have been displaced by the fresh clashes in the world's youngest nation. Full Story