News / Africa

John Kerry Calls for 'Bold Steps' to End South Sudan Fighting

The South Sudanese Minister in the Office of the President, Awan Riak, (left) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who met April 10, 2014 in Washington.
The South Sudanese Minister in the Office of the President, Awan Riak, (left) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who met April 10, 2014 in Washington.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on the government of South Sudan Thursday to take "bold steps" to end the conflict that has brought the country to the edge of famine and forced more than a million people from their homes.

Speaking at a meeting with South Sudanese Minister in the Office of the President, Awan Riak, Kerry "raised the need for the Government of South Sudan immediately to stop the fighting, provide full humanitarian access, and cease harassment and threats against the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)," the U.S. State Department said.

Kerry also urged South Sudan’s leaders to "prioritize the interests of the South Sudanese people over their own personal or ethnic interests."
 
A sick displaced man lies asleep on a bed while a mother bathes her son and keeps an eye on her other child in the United Nations camp in Juba, South Sudan, Feb. 12, 2014.A sick displaced man lies asleep on a bed while a mother bathes her son and keeps an eye on her other child in the United Nations camp in Juba, South Sudan, Feb. 12, 2014.
x
A sick displaced man lies asleep on a bed while a mother bathes her son and keeps an eye on her other child in the United Nations camp in Juba, South Sudan, Feb. 12, 2014.
A sick displaced man lies asleep on a bed while a mother bathes her son and keeps an eye on her other child in the United Nations camp in Juba, South Sudan, Feb. 12, 2014.

"The United States will continue to stand with the people of South Sudan and with those who take the courageous - and necessary - steps to bring peace, stability and good governance to South Sudan, so that its people can return to their livelihoods and its economy can flourish. But we will not stand by while the hopes of a nation are held hostage to short-sighted and destructive actors," the State Department quoted Kerry.

The two men met days after President Barack Obama signed an executive order, clearing the way for targeted sanctions to be imposed on anyone who fuels the conflict in South Sudan, obstructs the slow-moving peace process or commits rights abuses in the young country. 

The State Department did not say if Kerry and Riak discussed the U.S. sanctions, but the South Sudanese minister talked to South Sudan in Focus on Wednesday after a panel discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Riak said that his government was not worried by the threat of sanctions because it has been working to restore peace, not stoking violence.

Riak told the audience at CSIS that South Sudanese President Salva Kiir is drawing up a roadmap to take South Sudan back to peace and stability.

Among the cornerstones of the roadmap are a cessation of hostilities and the convening of a national dialogue that will include all South Sudanese. Both proposed messures are among the "bold moves" Kerry said the United States was looking for in South Sudan.  

In a somewhat rambling speech, Riak also said the outbreak of fighting on December 15 took the government by surprise.
 
“We never expected that we would use the language of guns again," he said.

He never directly mentioned the possibility of the United States imposing sanctions on South Sudanese leaders, but he did say that South Sudan needs U.S. support, not punishment.
We never expected that we would use the language of guns again.


"I had a meeting with USAID and I mentioned that there is a need for the U.S. as a midwife of the birth of the country of South Sudan, not to abandon us at this time and say it is punishing (us)... If there is anything we need most, it is support, not just punishing us," he said.

Zach Vertin, a senior advisor to the U.S. Special Envoy to South Sudan and Sudan, and John Temin of the U.S. Institute of Peace jointly stressed the urgency of finding a solution to the crisis in South Sudan.

"We have heard in these past few days discussion of a possible famine in South Sudan, of 3.7 million people potentially at risk for starvation. At the same time we’re in the midst of a three-week break in negotiations in Addis on these issues," Temin said.

"I find that juxtaposition remarkable and sad," he said.
John Temin of the US Institute of Peace at the CSIS panel discussion on South Sudan, April 10, 2014 in Washington DC.John Temin of the US Institute of Peace at the CSIS panel discussion on South Sudan, April 10, 2014 in Washington DC.
x
John Temin of the US Institute of Peace at the CSIS panel discussion on South Sudan, April 10, 2014 in Washington DC.
John Temin of the US Institute of Peace at the CSIS panel discussion on South Sudan, April 10, 2014 in Washington DC.
Temin also dismissed reports that life has returned to normal in parts of the country, including the capital, Juba.

"I think 70,000 people living in U.N. camps is far from normal," he said.

"I think that people from certain groups not feeling safe to walk the streets of the capital city... is not normal. I think having a large contingent of a neighboring country’s army on your land is not normal and I think that having over one million people displaced because of the violence is far from normal."
There is a need for the U.S. as a midwife of the birth of the country of South Sudan, not to abandon us at this time and say it is punishing (us).

"This is not a normal situation. It’s an extraordinary situation and an extraordinary situation requires a sense of urgency from all the parties, especially the protagonists who are doing the fighting. I’m not sure we’re seeing that sense of urgency right now," he said.
    
Vertin said the peace process -- which is on hold until the end of the month -- seems to be "stuck in tactics" and, echoing the words of Kerry, he called for "bold moves in Juba to unlock this situation."

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: robanson from: juba
April 11, 2014 1:37 PM
The govement of s.sudan kill Nuer like Anmal in juba more thin 17000died becuse they are Nuer.

by: climp jones from: tibet
April 11, 2014 11:41 AM
the usual Hollow Threats and Going No Whwere Fast rhetoric from Secretary Of State Lurch

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More