The United States and its partners in the troika for South Sudan on Tuesday expressed "serious concern" over President Salva Kiir's order to replace South Sudan's 10 states with 28 new states.
"This announcement directly contradicts the government of South Sudan’s commitment to implement the peace agreement it signed on August 26," the United States, Norway and the United Kingdom said in a statement.
The European Union issued a similar statement Tuesday, saying President Kiir's move "goes against the spirit and the letter of the peace agreement" for South Sudan that was brokered by regional bloc IGAD.
President Kiir announced Friday that he is increasing the number of states in South Sudan from 10 to 28. He said his decision was guided by South Sudan’s transitional constitution and "the principles of decentralization and devolution of power."
But both the troika and the EU said the peace deal for South Sudan states that "decisions on the structure of the country" will be addressed during the constitution-making process, which will be led by the transitional government.
Under the terms of the peace deal, the transitional government is supposed to be set up by November.
The troika also condemned the recent resumption of fighting in Unity state, saying it underscored "the urgent need" to quickly and fully implement the IGAD-Plus peace deal, particularly aspects of the agreement that deal with security arrangements.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) both announced Tuesday that they have pulled their staff out of Leer County in Unity state because of a sharp uptick in violence and direct threats made to their workers.