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UN Urges South Sudanese Parties to Cease Hostilities

Security Council Urges South Sudanese Parties to Cease Hostilities, Exercise Restraint

New York, Dec 18 2013 - The United Nations Security Council has urged all parties in South Sudan to immediately cease hostilities and exercise restraint to prevent the further spread of violence that has uprooted thousands of civilians in recent days in the world’s youngest nation.

In a statement issued to the press last night, the 15-member body voiced “serious concern” over the fighting that began on 15 December and is continuing in the capital, Juba, and other areas, reportedly resulting in large numbers of casualties, as well as over the risk of targeted violence against certain communities.

“The Members of the Security Council urged all parties to immediately cease hostilities, exercise restraint and refrain from violence and other actions that could exacerbate tensions,” said the statement, which followed a closed-door briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous on the latest developments.

“They also underscored the vital importance of protection of all civilians, regardless of their communities of origin, and called for all authorities to respect the rule of law and human rights.”

Amid the violence, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is continuing to provide protection to an estimated 10,000 civilians at two of its compounds.

Media reports say that hundreds of people have been killed since the clashes between members of the national forces, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), began over the weekend, following what the Government says is an attempted coup by soldiers loyal to former deputy president Riek Machar, who was dismissed in July.

Council members joined the call made yesterday by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Government to engage in dialogue with its opponents and to resolve differences peacefully.

They also commended UNMISS as it seeks to provide shelter, protection and humanitarian assistance to the affected civilians and to open the dialogue between key leaders to bring a resolution to the crisis.

The Mission has been on the ground since July 2011, when South Sudan became independent from neighbouring Sudan, to consolidate peace and security and to help establish conditions for development.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

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