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US Outraged as South Sudan Peace Deal Deadline Passes

FILE - South Sudan's President Salva Kiir speaks during a news conference in Juba.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is sharply criticizing South Sudan's warring factions after they missed a key deadline to form a transitional government, saying it is an insult to the country's citizens.

In a statement Monday, Kerry said the failure is an outrage. He said neither South Sudan's government nor rebels engaged in the peace talks seriously. Over six months of talks in Ethiopia, deadlines kept passing and innocent people kept dying.

Under an agreement reached in May, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his longtime political rival Riek Machar promised to establish a unity government by August 10. Fighting between forces loyal to the two men has left at least 10,000 people dead since December.

Kerry urged the African Union and the East African group IGAD to immediately take action, noting the groups have previously called for punitive measures if the August 10 deadline was missed.

Past cease-fire agreements between South Sudan's government and rebels have been violated soon after being signed.

The two sides have blamed each other for the collapse of previous cease-fire deals and the continuation of fighting that has centered on South Sudan's Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states.