By Prudence Arobani
New York – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday urged all sides in the South Sudan conflict to cease hostilities following recent government offensive.
Guterres described as disturbing the escalation of violence and subsequent suffering of civilians in the war-torn country.
“The United Nations today urged the Government and other warring parties to cease hostilities and uphold their responsibility to protect civilians.
“The renewed upsurge in fighting represents a callous and blatant disregard of the pledges made during the March 25, 2017 Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) summit.
“The summit is to implement a ceasefire and to facilitate humanitarian access,” Guterres said in a statement issued by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
The statement also urged all sides to cooperate with other humanitarian actors to ensure safe access to all civilians in imminent danger along the West Bank of the River Nile.
“There can be no military solution to the crisis in South Sudan,” the statement emphasized.
It called on regional and international partners to collaborate to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table.
“The United Nations remains committed to working with the African Union and IGAD to secure a peaceful resolution of the conflict”, the statement added.
In spite of the August 2015 peace agreement, South Sudan slipped back into conflict due to renewed clashes between rival forces.
The rival forces are the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition backing former First Vice-President Riek Machar.
At a Security Council meeting on Tuesday, David Shearer, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the head of UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), noted that the opposition has since splintered.
Shearer said the split makes it necessary for UN to strengthen its peace building efforts throughout the conflict areas.
The UNMISS chief also reiterated the need for a political solution.