US Senate warns of dire future for South Sudan

"Each day that the conflict continues, the risk of an all-out civil war grows as ethnic tensions and more civilians are killed, injured or forced to flee," said America's top diplomat for African Affairs.

US Senate warns of dire future for South Sudan

World Bulletin / News Desk

South Sudan is inching closer to complete civil war, according to a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

"Each day that the conflict continues, the risk of an all-out civil war grows as ethnic tensions and more civilians are killed, injured or forced to flee," said Linda Thomas Greenfield, assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, during Thursday’s hearing.

"The humanitarian situation grows more dire and those who have remained on the sidelines are pulled into the conflict," she added.

South Sudan descended into widespread violence after South Sudanese President Salva Kiir accused former Vice President Riek Machar of attempting to overthrow his government. Machar denies the claims.

Greenfield said that the US has no evidence that shows that there was a coup attempt.

Committee Chairman Robert Menendez offered a dire warning for the nascent country, noting that the fighting has resulted in over one thousand deaths, and the displacement of nearly two hundred thousand people.

"After decades of war with the Sudanese government, the people of South Sudan voted in favor of self- determination and the chance to create an inclusive, democratic, prosperous society. And they were united towards that goal. Now, that ideal is in jeopardy," remarked Menendez.

Peace talks between the government and the rebels began last Saturday in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

Menendez lauded Kiir and Machar for sending delegations, adding "all parties must make serious efforts to seek an inclusive political solution."

Thousands of people are reported to have fled the city of Bentiu ahead of a possible government offensive there to dislodge rebel forces.

South Sudan gained independence in 2011. It is the world’s youngest country.

SPLM leader says release of detainees key to solving S. Sudan crisis

A leading figure in the ruling party in South Sudan called on Thursday for the release of detainees loyal to sacked vice-president Riek Machar.

Luka Biong Deng, a former minister and a member of the National Liberation Council of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), told Anadolu Agency that the release of these detainees would offer the key for ending the crisis in strife-torn country.

South Sudan has been shaken by violence since mid-December, when President Salva Kiir accused sacked vice-president Riek Machar of standing behind a failed coup attempt against him.

A subsequent government crackdown landed many of Machar's supporters in jail, but he managed to flee to Jonglei State, a stronghold of his Nuer tribe.

In the fighting that has raged ever since, more than 190,000 people have reportedly been displaced.

The Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is now spearheading a mediation effort between South Sudan's fighting rivals in Addis Ababa.

Deng called on IGAD to seek objective settlement to the crisis, underlining the need for keeping the conflict in South Sudan away from foreign interference.

He also criticized a move by Sudan and South Sudan, forming a joint military force with the aim of protecting oil fields in South Sudan, saying that the protection of the oilfields needs political solutions, not military ones.

Deng also called on Khartoum to play a role through IGAD in paving the way for dialogue between the warring rivals in South Sudan, saying that Sudan should not seek to "settle its old scores with detained SPLM leaders."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ocak 2014, 10:09