US envoy calls for meaningful negotiations between South Sudan leaders

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Addis Ababa, 25 July 2014 (WIC) - The US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Ambassador Donald Booth speaking Juba on Wednesday (July 23) said Rival South Sudanese leaders must engage in meaningful negotiations to avert an imminent famine. Ambassador Booth told reporters Juba that “3.8 million, almost 4 million, people are at this point already experiencing severe food insecurity.

And this is not a result of drought or floods. This is a result of conflict, a man-made catastrophe”. He said nearly 1.4 million people have forced out of their homes as a result of the seven-month old conflict and up to 300,000 displaced into neighboring Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan.

Ambassador Booth said the US would do everything within its power to pressure the two parties to dialogue and form a transitional government. He said ““We are working with the parties to the conflict, with other stakeholders from South Sudan; civil society, religious leaders, political parties to try to put an end to the conflict so that this humanitarian situation is can begin to be turned around.”

Ambassador Booth said the important thing was to get the parties to the talks to move “beyond the discussions they have been having to-date and actually begin to deal with the real issues that are facing South Sudan.”