In South Sudan In U.S. Push To Halt Conflict
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[May 02, 2014]
By Phil Stewart
JUBA (Reuters) — U.S. Secretary of State
John Kerry flew into South Sudan on Friday to push for a halt to more
than four months of fighting in Africa's newest nation, a message he was
expected to deliver in talks with President Salva Kiir.
Kerry's trip to South Sudan, his first as Secretary of State, came
a day after he renewed U.S. threats of sanctions and held out hope
for the rapid deployment of more peacekeepers. He said the conflict
could descend into genocide.
"Secretary Kerry will reiterate the need for all parties to respect
the cessation of hostilities agreement, to immediately cease attacks
on civilians, and to fully cooperate with the United Nations and
humanitarian organizations," said State Department spokeswoman Jen
More than 1 million people have fled their homes since fighting
erupted in December between troops backing Kiir and soldiers loyal
to his sacked deputy, Riek Machar.
The fighting has largely run along ethnic lines between Kiir's Dinka
people and Machar's Nuer.
Thousands of people have been killed and tens of thousands have
sought refuge from the violence at U.N. bases around South Sudan, a
country the size of France that secured independence in 2011 when it
split from its northern neighbor, Sudan.
Kerry, speaking on Thursday in Ethiopia after talks with regional
states, warned of the risks of genocide in South Sudan and said all
sides agreed the "killing must stop".
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Kerry lamented violence on both sides and called upon Kiir and
Machar to publicly "condemn the brutal attacks that are taking place
against innocent people."
(Additional reporting by Carl Odera; editing by Edmund Blair)
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