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UK minister visits S. Sudan, urges end to bloodshed

September 11, 2017 (JUBA) – The United Kingdom (UK) Minister for Africa, Rory Stewart has called for an end to the bloodshed in South Sudan, where tens of thousands have died since December 2013.

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UK minister for Africa, Rory Stewart (Daily mail)

Stewart made this remarks during last week’s visit to the South Sudanese capital, Juba and the Upper Nile state capital, Malakal.

Since the beginning of the South Sudanese conflict, UK has been providing lifesaving support to people affected by the conflict.

The conflict in South Sudan, aid agencies say, has forced nearly 4 million people, or a third of the population, to flee their homes.

It also estimated that more than half of the population in South Sudan lack enough food to feed themselves and their families.

The UK official, while in South Sudan, appealed to the government to stop the conflict that has raged on for nearly four years now.

“The impact the conflict has had on the lives of so many vulnerable people here is shocking. I am proud to see the UK at the forefront of the international response, saving and protecting lives in South Sudan,” said Stewart in a statement.

He added, “It is vital that we now work with the international community and all armed parties to commit to a peace process, and to tackling the underlying causes of conflict to break this vicious cycle of violence so that no more innocent lives are lost.”

While in Juba, Stewart met First Vice President, Taban Deng during which he reportedly conveyed the UK’s deep concern at the ongoing violence and grave humanitarian situation in South Sudan and urged the Juba government to take the lead to bring an immediate end to violent conflict across the war-torn nation.

He also emphasized the importance of safe humanitarian access to the conflict-affected areas and pressed the government to take concrete steps to involve all groups in the peace process.

During his Upper Nile state visit, the senior UK official reiterated Britain’s commitment to the success of the UN Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS), adding that the UK, with the largest deployment to the UN peacekeeping mission, is helping UNMISS fulfil its mandate of protecting civilians, allowing humanitarian access, investigating human rights abuses and supporting the peace deal.

The UK official also held discussions with UN Special Representative of Secretary General, David Shearer, to discuss the security and political situation in South Sudan, in addition to meeting members South Sudan Council of Churches to hear their peace action plan.

The UK minister encouraged the Council of Churches to continue with their on-going work at community level and reiterated the UK’s commitment to supporting South Sudan in urgently finding a resolution to this terrible conflict before more lives are destroyed.

This year, the UK will reportedly provide £100 million on a package of lifesaving support that includes reaching over 500,000 people with food assistance, providing safe drinking water for over 300,000 people and emergency health services for over 100,000 people.

(ST)