The United States has threatened South Sudan with the possibility of imposing UN sanctions for undermining the peace process in the war torn country. Susan Rice, US President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, said in a statement that Washington was proposing such sanctions “if an agreement is not signed by the government within 15 days and a ceasefire is not implemented promptly by all parties.”
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir refused to sign the peace accord claiming he need more time. Regional leaders had set the deadline of August 17 in Ethiopia for signing the accord. After gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, the country slipped into a civil war when an armed conflict between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar spiraled into a conflict that once again brought back ethnic fault lines.
Seyoum Mesfin, the mediator for Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the east African bloc leading the talks, said Kiir’s side required two weeks before signing the peace deal that had been already accepted by the South Sudanese rebels. “In the next 15 days, the government will come back to Addis Ababa to finalise the peace agreement,” he added.
International pressure on South Sudan increased after President Obama’s historic visit to Ethiopia where he addressed the leaders of the African Union and discussed the road to peace in South Sudan. While countries like China that have business interests in the country have made statements asking the warring factions to reconcile, it has not been an active participant in the peace process among countries outside the continent. On the other hand, the US has been very vocal about the crisis in the country.
The South Sudan leaders are expected to meet in Ethiopia within the next two weeks to sign the peace pact, according to the mediators. But latest reports suggest that two days after refusing to sign the peace accord, fighting has resumed in the country again.
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