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US Threatens Sanctions on Those Blocking Peace Deal in South Sudan

FILE - South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar addresses news conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 12, 2014.
FILE - South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar addresses news conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 12, 2014.

The United States is considering sanctions on anyone impeding attempts to reach a peace agreement in South Sudan and, in particular, anyone committing human rights abuses, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Wednesday.

She was speaking a day after a delegation from the U.N. Security Council said there were reports that the warring factions were arming for another bout of fighting, one that could lead to a famine in the East African state. The delegation also threatened sanctions on both sides.

“We are considering sanctions options, as appropriate, to target those who are acting to impede the peaceful resolution of the conflict in South Sudan,” Harf told a news briefing. This applied in particular to people responsible for human rights violations, she said.

At least 10,000 people have been killed since fighting erupted in December between President Salva Kiir's government forces and supporters of Riek Machar, his former deputy and longtime rival.

The two men signed a cease-fire on May 9 and agreed to form an interim government by Aug. 10, but they missed that deadline as peace talks in Addis Ababa stalled. Diplomats said both sides had violated the truce while negotiations continued.   

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