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African envoys urge South Sudan to commit to new peace deal

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-09-28 10:24

South Sudan President Salva Kiir walks with officials on the tarmac at Juba International Airport in Juba on Sept 13, 2018, after returning from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa where the latest peace agreement with opposition leader Riek Machar was finalised. [Photo/VCG]

JUBA - A group of African diplomats in South Sudan on Thursday urged the country's leaders not to squander the recently signed peace deal, urging them to ensure that is it fully implemented.

The African Diplomatic Corps in South Sudan, an association of 11 African ambassadors in the East African country, said the latest peace deal provides hope for restoration of stability in the war-torn country, and the signatories to the pact must stop their forces from fighting.

The group's head and Kenya's ambassador to Juba, Cleland Leshore, said Africa wants to see a peaceful and prosperous South Sudan, and that dream can be achieved if the latest peace deal is implemented fully.

Jerome Biswaro, the African Union (AU) Representative in South Sudan, said the country's leaders should drop their personal interests and silence the guns in the oil-rich nation.

"Let us embrace the recently signed peace agreement. It is a South Sudanese peace that has to be implemented by South Sudanese across the board. Make sure it is implemented to letter and spirit," the AU envoy stressed.

The envoys spoke during a working visit to the country's biggest public health facility, the Juba Teaching Hospital on Thursday.

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 collapsed following renewed violence in the capital, Juba in July 2016.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, his former deputy and arch rival Riek Machar and several opposition groups early this month signed a new power-sharing deal aimed at ending the five-year old conflict that has devastated the world's youngest nation.

But the latest deal is being threatened by fresh wave of clashes that erupted shortly after it was signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Both government and the main rebel group, the Sudan People's Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) have blamed each other for the renewed fighting in the northern and Southern parts of the country.

"There continue to be some violations here and there. We call upon all parties to live to letter and spirit so that we silence the guns," said Biswaro.

"The AU flagship is 2020 to silence the guns across the continent, and South Sudan should start today."

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