News / Africa

South Sudan 'Tragedy' Cannot be Resolved on Battlefield: US Ambassador

U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan, Susan Page, speaks to John Tanza at the State Department on Thursday, March 13, 2014.
U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan, Susan Page, speaks to John Tanza at the State Department on Thursday, March 13, 2014.
U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Susan Page has called on the warring sides in the world's newest nation to end three months of bloodshed in the country and resolve what she called "a real tragedy" at peace talks that take into account what the people want.

"This is not a conflict that should or can be won through the use of force and weapons," Page told VOA in an interview conducted Thursday at the State Department in Washington.

Unrest in South Sudan has left thousands dead, destroyed livelihoods, wiped towns off the map and eradicated "the little infrastructure that had managed to be built after 2005," when a comprehensive peace agreement was signed that ended more than 20 years of civil war in once-unified Sudan, Page said.

The current crisis, which erupted in December, "has to be resolved through peaceful negotiations, where people can understand each other and make a way forward to bring peace back to South Sudan," Page said.


"We reiterate there can not be a solution militarily to this conflict that is first and foremost political and where demands of people need to be heard," she said.


Media crackdown 'no good for image of South Sudan'


Speaking hours after a VOA journalist was detained in Juba and questioned over content critical of President Salva Kiir that aired on South Sudan in Focus last month, Page said the government of South Sudan was shooting itself in the foot by cracking down on media rights.

"This does no good for the image of South Sudan," she said.

"It's important they uphold their own constitution, which does guarantee free press and free speech... It does not serve the people of South Sudan well, the more they close political speech and political free space," Page told VOA.

"It will not serve the government or the people of South Sudan well, who really just want to hear different views and different perspectives," she said.


As the troubles go into a fourth month, the United States has put on hold a program to help reform South Sudan's security sector, the ambassador said.

Security sector reforms in South Sudan include training programs for the army, aimed at professionalizing it, and making it disciplined and accountable to democratic civil control, according to the Centre for Security Governance think-tank.

"Given that the government itself has acknowledged that some 60-70 percent of the army that was, of the SPLA, has either defected to the rebels or has run from the army, it does not make a lot of sense to continue support for an army that is not yet whole and while recruitment of a new national army goes on, even in the light of the cessation of hostilities agreement, which suggests they should not be recruiting new members to the armed forces -- neither side," Page said.


The ambassador, who has been in post in Juba for just over two years, said that although the United States saw signs of the crisis that erupted in Juba on Dec. 15 and rapidly spread to the rest of the country, it would have been up to the South Sudanese themselves to take steps to prevent it from happening -- just as it is up to them to end the fighting now.

"All we can do is offer advice, but people are not obliged to take advice, and ultimately the government has made decisions, and the people that are fighting the government have made decisions, that are out of our control," she said.

"At the end of the day, the people of South Sudan have to want the kind of government, want the kind of society that they build themselves. If they don't want it, we cannot want it more than they do," Page said.

You can hear an edited version of the interview by clicking on the link below, and watch the first part of the interview at the State Department.

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: york from: united kingdom
March 17, 2014 2:59 AM
page is true on that, the solution for south sudan crisis only political solution/peacefull solution.because two sides demand is impossible that they want to obtain stablity through battlefield,which is bad to innocent peoples.
advices to south sudan by US will not solve any.we need US to sent peaceenvoys to juba to help mediators in ethiopia to bering peace back to country.US intervention is important.
YORK YOAL/UK

by: Sam Dave from: USA
March 16, 2014 3:15 AM
USA Ambassador to S. Sudan is absolutely right about that conflict.that conflict can not be solved by military but by peace. My fellows S. Sudanese, my advice to you all is that God can't come from heaven to give you a peace. S. Sudanese will give themselves a peace. Doesn't matter what you think that Mr. Kiir or Dr. Machar is president of S . Sudan. Those people who dying for this senseless war are citizens of S. Sudan. But the leaders of S. Sudan don't care about the crisis. They're taking their own credit ability of murdering their own civilians. There is no reason that the government of S. Sudan brought up Uganda's troops on to a S. Sudan soil in December and S. Sudan's government right now chases their friends away like UN. Okay, President. It's your right to chase UN away from the country. But who will help you with IDPs in S. Sudan? Did you forget that your government signed that UN into your country? did mission that you signed the UN is over? Is it the way that you designed and decided to send UN away like that? Who cause the the problem, UN or You the President, or Riek? I know that you don't want anyone to talk about your name or government that why you want kill innocent political detainees because they are insulted you. Did all them insulted or just one person? My God bless those people who are trying to give S. Sudan a peace but the leaders of S. Sudan delete it.

by: awaj dut from: aweil
March 15, 2014 1:23 PM
She is talking in gov't's name and rebels while the causative is UNMISS (Elde Johndon) plus unknown behind.
In Response

by: Emmanuel akolda from: Juba
March 17, 2014 2:59 AM
We know USA and allies are the one fueling this conflict. so let the ambassada say the truth.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs