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US Threatens South Sudan Conflict Sanctions

An executive order allows the U.S. to freeze the assets of anyone found to threaten South Sudan's peace and security - whether they are part of South Sudan's government or anti-government forces.
The United States has warned it may impose economic sanctions on individuals causing unrest or human rights abuses in South Sudan.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order Thursday allowing the U.S. to freeze assets of anyone found to threaten South Sudan's peace and security, target U.N. peacekeepers, or commit human rights abuses.

The White House said months of fighting between pro- and anti-government forces in South Sudan threatens "to tear the young nation apart." It demanded both the government and rebels follow through on peace talks being hosted by the East African bloc IGAD in Addis Ababa.

South Sudan's conflict erupted in mid-December when the government accused former vice president Riek Machar of leading an alleged coup.

The accusations set off weeks of deadly fighting that has killed thousands of people. The unrest has continued in spite of a cease-fire agreement signed by the government and rebel forces in January.

The United Nations says the fighting has forced about one million people to flee from their homes. Some 200,000 South Sudanese have sought refuge in neighboring countries.