US envoy meets Machar faction, calls for ceasefire

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Riek Machar in 2014

A US delegation visiting Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has appealed to the warring factions in South Sudan to declare a ceasefire unconditionally.

The delegation, headed by the acting Director of the US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Paul Sotfin, also warned that any party to the conflict that would not declare a ceasefire would face the wrath of the international community and the region.

“We also want to remind the warring parties that the conflict in southern Sudan costs the United States a lot in terms of financial support and material resources, so there must be a political settlement,” the US official said in a statement after meeting with members of the rebel faction led by former vice president Riek Machar in Addis Ababa on Monday.

The US official strongly demanded that the warring parties return to the political dialogue, hinting at the collapse of the peace agreement signed in 2015.

Members of the Machar faction agreed with the US delegation that the peace agreement had collapsed, and should be revived through a comprehensive political process requiring the participation of the warring parties in the conflict in South Sudan.

“If there is any political process in the country, Mashar must be a key player,” Machar’s faction told the US delegation.

The two sides also discussed the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the nascent state, which has been sliding into civil war since 2013.

Machar’s faction demanded the opening of humanitarian corridors through the neighboring states of South Sudan.

The Machar movement said it was still adhering to a unilateral cease-fire announced on August 11, 2016 and was ready to renegotiate any renewal of the ceasefire.

During the official launching of the National Dialogue initiative last week, South Sudan President Salva Kiir announced a unilateral ceasefire, stressing the need to end the current war.

Source: APA

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