Chairperson expresses concern on escalation of political conflict in South Sudan

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Addis Ababa, 24 December 2013 (WIC) - The African Union Commission Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, expressed concern on the escalation of the political conflict in South Sudan into a violent confrontation that threatens to degenerate into an all-out civil war, AU said.
A press statement AU posted on its website said the Chairperson reiterated AU’s call for concerned stakeholders to exercise the responsibilities of leadership and halt the slide towards civil war.
She is also deeply alarmed by the deteriorating humanitarian situation that has already inflicted untold suffering on the civilian population, including killings, violations of human rights and massive forced displacements.
She called for an immediate humanitarian truce for the Christmas season, as a sign of a commitment by all concerned to the well-being of the people of South Sudan.
Two and a half years ago, the AU welcomed the new nation of South Sudan into its ranks, with high expectations that this new country would become a beacon of peace, prosperity and hope.
The Chairperson is profoundly dismayed at the recent turn of events that puts at risks countless human lives and jeopardizes the fundamental viability of the nation.
She reiterated AU’s support to the efforts of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of IGAD, which also involve the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, as well as the UN Special Representative to the AU, to secure an immediate end to hostilities in South Sudan.
In this respect, she urged the Government of South Sudan and the other belligerent parties to invite the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to monitor a cessation of hostilities and to undertake all necessary activities for the protection of civilians.
She also called upon the parties to the conflict to facilitate free and unhindered movement of humanitarian personnel and supplies to affected people in South Sudan.
The Chairperson is extremely saddened by the killing of innocent civilians and United Nations peacekeepers in Bor, in the Jonglei State of South Sudan.
She condemned these killings as a war crime, and extends AU’s condolences to their families and to the Government of India, as well as to the UN Secretariat.
The Chairperson expressed AU’s commitment to facilitate political dialogue involving people and leaders of South Sudan, through the High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and in partnership with IGAD.
She stressed that an inclusive dialogue on all relevant issues, based on the respect of human rights, the rule of law and constitutional legality and the rejection of the use of force, is the only way in which the South Sudanese can address their problems and resolve their differences. 

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