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East Africa, U.S. warn South Sudan peace saboteurs

02 May 2014, 08:04

Nairobi - Regional foreign ministers and U.S. secretary of state on Thursday warned individuals who have served as obstacles to the South Sudan peace process, calling on them to steer their impoverished country towards stability.

The ministers from Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia who held consultations with the solutions to South Sudan crisis with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry strongly agreed that obstruction will no longer be accepted.

"In a strict time-bound manner, their continued obstruction will be met with strong measures regionally and internationally," said a statement from Kenya's ministry of foreign affairs.

The statement said the ministers who held talks in Ethiopia also noted that the only way forward for South Sudan is an inclusive peace process that leads to an inclusive government of leaders who have shown their strong willingness to work for peace and national unity.

"Sustained peace will not just come from the warring parties - though they must cease the violence - but needs to include the vital voices of leadership and credibility nationally as well as locally," the statement said.

The meeting came a day after regional leaders called on the South Sudanese leaders to respect the terms of the ceasefire they reached earlier and to put the interest of their people above their differences.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the chairman of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Summit, said the war in South Sudan is a betrayal of the independence long sought by Kenya' s northern neighbor. "The interests and rights of the people of South Sudan come first, and peace is the only course of action that respects those interests and right," he told the summit in Tanzania on Wednesday.

He said the warring leaders must stop the fight and fulfill the aspirations that their people struggled for decades. President Kenyatta said the EAC doesn't live in isolation and has been ready to respond to the cry of its neighbors.

In Addis Ababa, the ministers noted that the refusal by the warring parties to meet obligations to cease hostilities and the targeting of civilians was a sign that the region and the international community must take a stronger position in response.

They agreed that the priority for all is the fate of the more than 1 million refugees and internally displaced people, plus the broader population whose food security is seriously endangered.

They said the region also stands ready to commit capable and willing forces to assist in this effort and called on the UN Security Council and the Secretary General to ensure that the UN forces in South Sudan have a mandate that speaks to the needs on the ground, and the resources to get the job done.

The meeting was attended by Amina Mohamed from Kenya, Sam Kutesa from Uganda, Tedros Adhanom from Ethiopia, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The aim of the meeting was to reach a shared understanding on how the violent conflict can best be halted, and how vital humanitarian aid could reach the people who so desperately need it.

 - Xinhua

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