UN urges South Sudan's leaders to embrace peace talks to end war
JUBA, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Visiting UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed on Wednesday called on South Sudanese leaders to stick to the ongoing peace talks to end the suffering of its people.
Speaking at the conclusion of a two-day visit to the war-torn East African country, Mohammed said the UN welcomes the latest peace efforts taking place in Sudan, adding that the talks remain the only opportunity to stabilize the world's youngest nation.
"We are seeing that there is a peace accord that could happen and that is another opportunity for South Sudan to rebirth and to rebirth in a way that takes concrete steps to include everyone," she told journalists in Juba.
Last week, President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signed a cessation of hostilities agreement in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum and pledged to end more than four years of fighting.
But the pact was broken hours after it took effect and the parties have been trading blame games on one another.
Mohammed arrived in South Sudan on Tuesday for a joint UN- African Union (AU) visit that seeks to promote women's participation in peace building and development.
She was accompanied by AU's Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security Bineta Diop as part of a six-day tour of South Sudan, Chad and Niger aimed at enhancing women's participation in peace, security and development in the three countries.
While in South Sudan, the delegation met President Kiir, senior government officials, humanitarian and diplomatic missions, visited a UN -protected camp for displaced people and also launched a centre to treats victims of gender-based and sexual violence.
Mohammed said she got first-hand testimonies from women who suffered sexual violence and rape in South Sudan and it is now time for the armed actors to do more and end all forms of violence against women and children.
"This delegation is here to constantly remind the world that these problems are not over, they are urgent and we need to deal with them now," Mohammed said.
"For us, there is hope, it is tough. It is going to be a long journey and we need to accompany the South Sudanese women and people to succeed in having their aspirations realized," she added.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world. The UN estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under United Nations pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government, but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016.