NAIROBI – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that South Sudan’s government and rebels had failed to make compromises needed to end a civil conflict and that this was putting the future of the world’s youngest nation at “grave risk”.
But a political crisis between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, who he sacked as his deputy in 2013, erupted into a conflict in December of that year. Fighting has rumbled on since then with both sides ignoring repeated agreements to stop.
“South Sudan’s leaders … have not yet chosen to make the compromises needed for peace,” Kerry told a news conference in Nairobi, noting that the fighting put at “grave risk” the promising future the oil-producing nation once had.
The United States, like the European Union, has imposed sanctions on commanders on both sides. On Monday, Kerry said Washington was offering funds that could help set up a justice mechanism to hold to account those responsible for violence.
Peace talks sponsored by the African regional grouping IGAD and backed by the United States and others have been stalled for weeks during which time there have flare-ups in the fighting.
The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people since it started in 2013 and has driven hundreds of thousands from their homes, some fleeing to neighbouring states.