The United States and European allies say a new flare-up of fighting in South Sudan violates that country’s peace agreement, and are demanding the clashes end immediately.
A joint statement Wednesday from the U.S., Britain and Norway, known as the Troika, says the fighting around the town of Yei represents a “flagrant breach” of a December 2017 cease-fire and the revitalized peace deal signed by South Sudan’s government and several rebel groups last September.
The U.N. refugee agency reported last week that clashes between government forces and the rebel National Salvation Front have displaced some 13,000 people and prompted about 5,000 to flee across the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“This renewed violence risks undermining the peace agreement and lowers confidence of the Troika and other international partners in the parties’ seriousness and commitment to peace,” said the Troika statement.
The U.S. and allies also called on the parties to ensure the safety of civilians and allow unrestricted access to Yei for humanitarian groups and cease-fire monitors.
South Sudan’s conflict, which began in December 2013, killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than 4.5 million from their homes, with two million fleeing to other countries.
A reduction in fighting has allowed some refugees to return home and enabled the country to resume oil production, raising hopes South Sudan can rebuild its ruined economy.
State Department correspondent Nike Ching contributed to this report.