The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the fighting between the Government of South Sudan and opposition forces outside the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Malakal, where approximately 21,000 internally displaced persons are currently sheltered.
Threats and attacks against UNMISS sites, and the civilians protected therein, are unacceptable and must cease immediately. All parties should regard UNMISS sites as inviolable: the civilians sheltering at such locations must be afforded every protection and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those sites must not be obstructed. The United States will work within the Security Council and with other regional partners to hold accountable those individuals who have fired on UNMISS bases, looted UN and NGO offices, and killed humanitarian workers delivering assistance to innocent civilians in South Sudan.
The violence in Malakal is the latest violation of the January 23 Cessation of Hostilities agreement. We call on both sides to abide by the terms of that agreement and engage constructively in negotiations led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The continuing conflict threatens regional stability and denies the people of South Sudan the security and economic stability that is their due. IGAD’s effort to mediate a solution to the crisis, which the United States supports, offers both sides an opportunity to give priority to the future well being of South Sudan.
The United States fully supports the critical work of UNMISS in helping lay the ground work for a stable future, especially in its efforts to protect civilians in Malakal and throughout South Sudan. The Government of South Sudan has an obligation to ensure UNMISS is able to carry out its mission to protect civilians and should cooperate with UN and NGO personnel working to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need.
- Cross posted from the U.S. Mission to Geneva