UN Security Council welcomes resumption of South Sudan peace talks

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UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Thursday welcomed the resumption of peace talks between South Sudan’s warring parties, urging them to adhere to a cease-fire deal signed last month.

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“The members of the Security Council expressed their strong support to the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) mediation effort and welcomed the commencement of the second round of the political talks between South Sudan leaders on February 11, ” said a statement issued to the press here by the 15-nation body.

The talks, the statement said, should be intended to “foster an inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation ensuring durable peace and rule of law in South Sudan while addressing the underlying causes of the conflict and preventing further escalation of inter-ethnic violence and division.”

Noting that the dialogue will succeed only if it is “fully inclusive,” the council members called on all the detained or formerly jailed political leaders to be allowed to take part in the political process and supported the IGAD’s initiative to host a series of public consultations.

Meanwhile, the Security Council also demanded that all parties comply with the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement reached on Jan. 23, and cooperate with the IGAD monitoring and verification efforts.

The members also voiced concern over the prospect of a deteriorating humanitarian situation as the fast-approaching rainy season, coupled with the existing food insecurity crisis of 3.7 million South Sudanese, may result in famine in 2015 and regional instability.

They called on all parties to “expedite the safe and unhindered access of humanitarian organizations for the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to populations in need.

The political talks between the government of South Sudan and the opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, are taking place in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, under the auspices of IGAD, an East African bloc.

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed and some 870,000 others have fled their homes, since fighting broke out on Dec. 15 between the forces of President Salva Kiir and former Deputy President Riek Machar.

The two sides signed a ceasefire last month following the first round of peace talks mediated by IGAD, leading to a relative lull. PNA

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