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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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