News / Africa

    UN Chief Vows Not to Abandon South Sudanese People

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visits a UN compound in Juba on May 6, 2014, where thousands of displaced people have sought shelter. The hair of many of the children is beginning to turn red, a sign of malnutrition.
    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visits a UN compound in Juba on May 6, 2014, where thousands of displaced people have sought shelter. The hair of many of the children is beginning to turn red, a sign of malnutrition.
    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pledged during a visit to Juba Tuesday to stand by the hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese displaced by nearly five months of fighting, and pressed President Salva Kiir and his rival in the conflict, former vice president Riek Machar, to rapidly find a way out of the deadly crisis.

    "Today, I am standing here with some sad and heavy heavy heart," Ban told reporters after visiting a U.N. base in Juba where thousands of people are sheltering -- some since fighting first erupted in mid-December.

    "The United Nations will continue to help them so that they can return to their homes as soon as possible," Ban said.

    But, he stressed, before the displaced are able to return home, "There should be peace and security."

    “Fighting must end. Much damage has already been done," he said, urging Kiir and Machar to "close the wounds they have opened."

    "They must support justice and accountability for the crimes committed and they must act to address the root causes of the conflict," Ban said.
    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon meets some of the thousands of displaced persons sheltering at a U.N. compound in Juba during a visit to South Sudan on May 6, 2014.
    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon meets some of the thousands of displaced persons sheltering at a U.N. compound in Juba during a visit to South Sudan on May 6, 2014.
    The warring sides took a tentative step toward restoring peace Monday when they pledged to observe a one-month truce, starting Wednesday, and to recommit to a cessation of hostilities agreement signed in January but which both sides have violated repeatedly since then.

    During a visit by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Juba on Friday, Kiir took another small step toward ending the fighting when he agreed to a proposal to hold face-to-face talks with his arch-rival in the conflict, former vice president  Machar.

    Kiir said he assured Ban that he remains "ready now to travel to Addis Ababa to go and meet Riek Machar if he will accept to meet me."

    If the meeting goes ahead, "We are going to talk about how to stop fighting so that people go back home," Kiir said.
    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Hilde Johnson, address a news conference during a visit by Ban to South Sudan on May 6, 2014.United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Hilde Johnson, address a news conference during a visit by Ban to South Sudan on May 6, 2014.
    x
    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Hilde Johnson, address a news conference during a visit by Ban to South Sudan on May 6, 2014.
    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Hilde Johnson, address a news conference during a visit by Ban to South Sudan on May 6, 2014.
    The president stressed the need to end the fighting rapidly, warning that famine could strike South Sudan if the unrest is allowed to drag on.

    "This is the month of May ... This is the time that the rains come in our country, and everyone runs to his or her field to sow something so that, when the harvest time comes, you have something to harvest," Mr. Kiir said.

    "It would be a very serious disaster if we do not allow our people to cultivate now and famine will be there. We don't want this thing to happen again as it happened in the '80s. We want to stop fighting as soon as possible," Kiir said.


    Machar 'will try his best' to meet Kiir


    Ban said he spoke by phone with Machar, who has been in hiding since unrest erupted in Juba in mid-December. He was assured by the opposition leader that he would meet with Kiir.

    "He said that he has been invited by the prime minister of Ethiopia, Haliemariam Desalegn, in his capacity as chair of IGAD, to come to Addis Ababa," Ban said. "He responded positively that he will be in Addis Ababa for the meeting... He said he will try his best because he is now in a very remote area."
    It would be a very serious disaster if we do not allow our people to cultivate now and famine will be there. We don't want this thing to happen again as it happened in the '80s.
    IGAD is the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development which has been mediating slow-moving peace talks between pro- and anti-government forces in South Sudan since January.

    During his visit, Ban also met with civil society leaders and toured a U.N. compound in Juba, where thousands of displaced persons are sheltering.

    Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Mawien Makol Arik said the U.N. chief's visit was an opportunity to show that relations between the United Nations and South Sudan are on the mend after hitting some rough patches during the fighting.

    “There have been misquotations, misunderstandings between the government and the UNMISS here in South Sudan. And so this visit actually will let him (Ban) see what the government is trying to do to bridge the gap between the U.N. and the government of South Sudan," Arik said.

    In January, South Sudanese's information minister, Michael Makuei, was refused access to the U.N. compound in Bor. Kiir accused the world body of seeking to take over the young country, and speculated that the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) may have pushed Machar to rise up against the government. Kiir later backed away from those comments.

    Relations soured further in March when a U.N. convoy that was intercepted on the way to the war-torn town of Bentiu was found to be carrying weapons. U.N. rules stipulate that weapons in South Sudan are to be transported by air for secuity reasons. The weapons were intended for Ghanian peacekeepers, according to the U.N.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora