Secretary of State John Kerry met today with the South Sudanese Minister in the Office of the President Honorable Awan Riak.
The Secretary noted his grave concern with respect to the situation there, and reaffirmed our support for the people of South Sudan and our readiness to stand with those who take bold steps to lead the country out of the crisis. He raised the need for the Government of South Sudan immediately to stop the fighting, provide full humanitarian access, and cease harassment and threats against the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The Secretary emphasized the importance of full cooperation with the African Union Commission of Inquiry and the U.S. Government’s support for justice, reconciliation, and accountability for human rights violations and abuses.
They had a frank discussion of the way forward to heal the wounds of the violent conflict that broke out on December 15, and how to create a durable and inclusive path to peace. The Secretary noted that he continues to monitor events in South Sudan closely and called for progress toward inclusive, broad-based negotiations led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. The Secretary emphasized the U.S. Government’s continued call for South Sudan’s leaders to prioritize the interests of the South Sudanese people over their own personal or ethnic interests.
The United States will continue to stand with the people of South Sudan and with those who take the courageous - and necessary - steps to bring peace, stability and good governance to South Sudan, so that its people can return to their livelihoods and its economy can flourish. But we will not stand by while the hopes of a nation are held hostage to short-sighted and destructive actors.
On April 3, the President authorized targeted sanctions that can and will be used against those who contribute to conflict by undermining democratic processes or institutions or by obstructing the peace process and against those who commit human rights abuses in South Sudan.