Tobias Ellwood, Minister for Africa and the Middle East, visited South Sudan on 21 December to highlight UK concern at the deteriorating situation in the country.
Mr Ellwood made his first visit to South Sudan amid a deteriorating security, economic and humanitarian situation. He met with the President Kiir, First Vice President Taban Deng, Foreign Minister Deng Alor, Defence Minister Kual Manyang, Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to South Sudan Moustafa Soumare and fellow Troika ambassadors from the US and Norway.
The Minister called on all sides to urgently show restraint and work to build peace. He welcomed the President’s proposed National Dialogue and call for an immediate ceasefire. He stressed that these words must be accompanied by actions that support peace: an immediate ceasefire and halt to military operations. Only this will create the necessary space for dialogue. It is essential that the Government of South Sudan allow UNMISS effectively to fulfil its mandate and that the UN Regional Protection Force is deployed quickly.
The UK has been lobbying for broad international support for a UN arms embargo and sanctions. We are also working through the UN, EU, with regional partners and other donors to make clear our concern about the deteriorating security situation, and the risk of mass atrocities being committed.
Speaking at the end of the visit Mr Ellwood said:
On my first visit to South Sudan I have reminded the South Sudanese leadership that the eyes of the world are on them. The international community expects them to do all that they can to stop the escalating violence and human rights abuses and make real efforts to establish an inclusive political process in support of the current peace agreement.
The President’s recent announcement of a National Dialogue is welcome. But we must see clear action following these words. Further bloodshed, hate speech and incitement to violence cannot and will not be tolerated. The suffering of the South Sudanese people cannot continue.
The UK’s is committed to the supporting people of South Sudan. The commitment of South Sudan’s leaders to their own people needs to be just as dedicated. At the moment they are falling short. I have delivered a clear message that they must do better.
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