U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Juba for talks on how to end deadly fighting that threatens to plunge South Sudan into a civil war.
Kerry will meet Friday with President Salva Kiir. Later, he plans to speak by telephone to ex-vice president and current rebel leader Riek Machar.
On Thursday, Kerry blamed the violence on a rivalry between both leaders. He said both need to condemn brutal attacks against innocent people.
The top U.S. diplomat is trying to negotiate a deal to send African Union peacekeepers as soon as possible to help stop the fighting and protect civilians.
The worst violence started in December when Mr. Kiir accused Machar of trying to attempt a coup. Much of the violence has fallen along ethnic lines.
Thousands of people are believed to have been killed and more than one million displaced as a result of the violence in the world's newest country.
The U.S. has threatened sanctions against those responsible for the violence, including Mr. Kiir and Machar.
Kerry is on a multi-nation tour of Africa that has largely focused on security and human rights issues.
While in the Ethiopian capital Thursday, Kerry held talks with AU officials on the Central African Republic where Muslims continue to flee their homes to escape attacks by Christian militia.
After returning to Addis Ababa, Kerry is due to meet with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to discuss the fight against the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab.
On Saturday, he travels to the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital to meet with President Joseph Kabila. The two will discuss recent security gains against rebel groups in volatile eastern Congo.
After a stop in Angola, Kerry returns to Washington on Monday.