UN Security Council pessimistic on swift South Sudan peace deal

August 13, 2014 9:53 am
 Families with malnourished children wait to receive treatment at the Leer Hospital, South Sudan, on July 7, 2014/AFP
Families with malnourished children wait to receive treatment at the Leer Hospital, South Sudan, on July 7, 2014/AFP

, JUBA, August 13- UN Security Council envoys said Wednesday they had little hope of a swift end to South Sudan‘s eight month long conflict, despite threatening sanctions during meetings with the warring leaders.

“We did not hear much from them that gave us hope that there will be rapid agreement,” in peace talks, British ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters, describing discussions with leaders as “disappointing.”

Envoys met with President Salva Kiir in Juba, and held talks via a video link with rebel chief Riek Machar.

“Both said that they recognize that there was no military solution to the crisis, but the two positions remain far apart,” Grant said.

“What we are see is the failure of leadership in the country, the leaders are at war with each other,” he added, speaking before the 15-member council left South Sudan at the end of a two-day visit.

The UN has said the food crisis is the “worst in the world”, with aid workers warning of famine within weeks if conflict continues.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than 1.5 million have fled civil war sparked by a power struggle between Kiir and his sacked deputy Machar, with battles between government troops, mutinous soldiers and ragtag militia forces divided by tribe.

The UN Security Council last week threatened to slap sanctions on leaders of both sides if fighting continues, a warning repeated by Grant.

“We underlined a very strong message that there will be consequences for those who undermine the peace process, that are not willing to put aside their personal agendas in the interest of the people,” he added.

Stop start peace talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa which began in January officially restarted again last week, but the delegates have made little if any progress.

Three ceasefire agreements have all been broken, while leaders missed a key deadline on Sunday to forge a unity government.

The UN envoys are later due to meet in Kenya regional foreign ministers from the east African IGAD-bloc, which is mediating the slow moving talks.

“We shall be discussing with them what the next steps are,” Grant added.

The United States and the European Union have already imposed penalties on three senior army commanders from the government and opposition, while IGAD nations have suggested they could follow suit if progress was not made.


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