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US urges S. Sudan’s warring parties to resume peace talks

July 15, 2014 (JUBA) – The United States assistance secretary, bureau of population, refugees and migration, Anne Richard, has urged South Sudan’s warring parties to resume stalled peace negotiations in order to save the lives of millions of people displaced by the ongoing conflict.

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A woman carries water through a UN camp for internally displaced people in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state (Photo: IOM)

“As much as Americans have funds for South Sudan, there is a limit I think into how much aid can be provided in a year with so many crisis around the world,” said Richard.

The conflict in Syria and Iraq, Richard said, has stretched donor funds.

“So the best thing for our concern will be to restore peace to South Sudan, to stop the hostilities and get back to the business of developing this nation into a great nation,” she added.

Over a million South Sudanese have been forced out of their homes by the seven old conflict pitting President Salva Kiir against his former deputy-turned rebel leader Riek Machar.

Richard, accompanied by the US envoy to South Sudan, Susan Page also visited Sudanese refugees in Upper Nile state’s Maban county as well as those displaced in camps at United Nation bases.

“For those of us who have followed the situation here [in South Sudan] for many years, [it] is a very, very sad chapter I think in the history of this young nation,” she said, adding that she advised the Juba government to take responsibility and ensure safe return of those displaced.

“[We] talked about ways how can we get South Sudan back on the path of peace, prosperity, stability so that the children are being educated and not leaving out of schools in refugee camps in Ethiopia,” she said.

The US donated nearly $300 million at Oslo conference to South Sudanese in May and additional $21.6 million last week. This funding, Richard said, represents an increment to the region in the first half of this year.

Meanwhile, ambassador Page said the international community will continue pressing both parties to resume the stalled peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

“We hope to get often running; the IGAD force will be coming in. We are supporting those efforts as well and we look forward to continue the support we are providing to civil society including the religious leaders to be at the talks in Addis Ababa,” she said.

(ST)