United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the South Sudanese government, as well as the opposition party, to find a “political way out” of the security crisis there.
In a speech delivered before the start of his joint press conference with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Ban called for an end to the “deteriorating security situation” in South Sudan, which has declared its independence from Sudan in July 2012.
Ban called the crisis in the country “a grave concern” for the international community.
“I demand that all political, military and militia leaders stop hostilities and end the violence against civilians,” he said.
Violence has been escalating in South Sudan since last week after former Vice President Riek Machar allegedly attempted a coup. Although South Sudan President Salva Kiir offered open talks with the opposition, Machar denied the coup attempt and instead accused Kiir of conducting a “violent purge.”
Ban said some 40,000 civilians have been affected by the fighting and had to take refuge in United Nations bases and locations around the country.
The secretary-general also condemned the attack on the UN base on December 19 where two UN peacekeepers were killed while protecting civilians who had taken refuge there.
He added that Kiir and Machar are responsible for “ending the crisis and finding the political means of addressing their differences.”
“I call on them to do everything in their power to ensure that their followers hear the message loud and clear that continued violence, ethnic and otherwise, is completely unacceptable and poses a dangerous threat to the future of their young country,” he said.
United States President Barack Obama, for his part, warned South Sudan
that Washington and its allies will sever any aid to the country if a coup is pursued.
The Philippines immediately recognized South Sudan as a sovereign state after the latter’s declaration of independence in 2012, with the two nations establishing formal diplomatic relations in March this year.