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South Sudan: UN chief urges all sides to 'show leadership' in quest for peace

4 March 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged South Sudanese political rivals President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar to resolve their differences and move towards a lasting peace ahead of an impending mediation deadline.

In a statement issued late yesterday evening, the UN spokesperson's office said the Secretary-General strongly urged Mr. Kiir and Mr. Machar "to show leadership" and put the "well-being of South Sudanese ahead of all other interests." Moreover, he added, the two leaders should work to make "the necessary compromises to conclude a power sharing agreement that paves the way for a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in South Sudan."

Mr. Ban's appeal comes just days before a 5 March deadline set by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for the conclusion of negotiations between the two parties.

The UN spokesperson also reported that the Secretary-General took note of the unanimous Security Council resolution adopted yesterday morning establishing a sanctions regime on South Sudanese officials blocking peace efforts in the country.

The move is the UN body's latest step towards ending a conflict that has killed thousands in the world's newest country.

In particular, the resolution voiced deep concern at the "failures" of both parties to engage in a palpable peace process which would lead to political resolve and bring an end to the violence. The text underscored the Council's "willingness to impose targeted sanctions in order to support the search for peace."

While no listings were made, the resolution sets out a series of listing criteria. The sanctions are expected to apply to those responsible for, complicit in, or engaged directly or indirectly in actions or policies threatening the peace, security or stability of South Sudan.

In the statement, which commended and supported the regional efforts facilitating the negotiation process, the UN spokesperson also said the Secretary-General reminded both parties that "the best way" to avoid the enactment of actual sanctions by the Security Council, would be to "strictly adhere" to the Cessation of Hostilities agreement of 23 January 2014, fully comply with International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, extend their full cooperation to UN and humanitarian personnel in the discharge of their mandates and duties, and conclude a Comprehensive Peace Agreement that places South Sudan "back on the path to stability and prosperity."

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