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UN, Kenya urge South Sudan leaders to maintain peace

17 July 2016, 22:45

Nairobi (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday called on South Sudan leaders to maintain peace in the world's youngest nation.

Addressing a joint news conference in Nairobi, Kenyatta said regional leaders have a primary responsibility in maintaining peace in the region and called on the international community to support their efforts.

"We have all watched events in South Sudan with sorrow. Our youngest brother has fallen, yet again, into division and violence. It is our responsibility, all of us, but especially those in the region, to restore peace, and to restore it durably," Kenyatta said.

"Let me be clear: those of us in the region have primary responsibility for peace and security here. But that responsibility is also collective, all of us must think carefully, and work hard, in the cause of peace."

He called for a review of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan so that it can robustly enforce it in the country.

"The UN Security Council would be well advised to vary the mandate of UNMISS so that it can separate those who have turned to violence, so that it can protect the infrastructure South Sudan has built, and so that it can enforce the peace," he said.

The Kenyan leader also commended South Sudanese leaders for agreeing to cease hostilities, saying it needs to be enforced fully without any delay.

"Collective responsibility also means that they must immediately commit to the complete implementation of the peace agreement, including the permanent ceasefire and redeployment of military forces from Juba," he said.

Kenyatta said all parties to the conflict have to submit themselves to the joint security agreements, especially those establishing the joint integrated police units to patrol Juba.

"Equally, all parties to the conflict had better direct their energies to empowering and directing the Joint Military Ceasefire Commission to operate continuously so as to address issues as and when they arise," he said.

The fighting between the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition, which backs First Vice-President Riek Machar, reportedly killed some 272 people, including 33 civilians, and displaced at least 36,000 civilians.

The mass displacements have sparked renewed concerns about the prospects for peace and stability in the country.

Humanitarian partners are closely monitoring the evolving situation in several locations across the country, including Yei, Wau and Leer in order to deliver much needed food aid.

Regional leaders held a meeting in Rwanda on Saturday to seek a lasting solution to the conflict in South Sudan.

Speaking at the joint news conference, Ban thanked Kenya for the pivotal role it is playing in ensuring peace and security in the region, lauding Kenyatta for playing a leading role in managing the renewed crisis in South Sudan.

He said he is encouraged by the unified voice of African leaders on regional security issues crisis.

"I thank President Kenyatta for his leadership and personal engagement. We are working together to ensure that peace returns to Juba and the rest of South Sudan. I appreciate Kenyan efforts to continue to impress on the parties in South Sudan to strictly abide by the cessation of hostilities and return to the peace process," Ban said.

The UN chief also thanked the Kenya government and its citizens for their hospitality in hosting refugees from Somalia and other troubled nations within the region.

"Kenya has a long and remarkable tradition as a welcoming and generous nation. As civilians fled the renewed fighting in South Sudan to neighboring areas, including Kakuma camp in Kenya, I commend the hospitality of the Kenyan people," he said.

The UN secretary general also urged the Burundi government to be more inclusive so as to end the crisis facing the country.

He said the world body will continue to support the political process in Burundi led by the East African Community.

"It is critical that the region sends a united call for Burundian stakeholders to fully commit to an inclusive dialogue to solve the crisis," Ban added.

- Xinhua


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