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 Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid