JUBA – The United States Ambassador to South Sudan, Michael J. Adler on Wednesday expressed concern over continued clashes between rival armed groups in Upper Nile State, a northern region.
“On this day, traditionally celebrated by observing a 24-hour ceasefire, it is deeply concerning to consider the conflict in Upper Nile, ongoing tensions between herders and farmers in the Equatoria,” Adler said during the commemoration of International Day of Peace in Juba on Wednesday.
Adler stressed the need to engage the affected communities, government, and local authorities, to quell tensions and support efforts toward a peaceful resolution.
“There are numerous incidents of violence occurring elsewhere in the country and the differences between communities have been exploited, rather than celebrated as a source of strength,” Adler said.
The recent deadly fighting in Adidiang village displaced 8,000 civilians, while flooding is hindering their access to humanitarian aid and safer areas while others sought refuge at the UN base.
“That desire was clear from what we heard from the students today and I say to them in response: may you always be voices of peace and may you always see peace as your culture,” Adler said.
He said the people’s differences can and should be a source of strength and have the potential to create employment, generate income, reduce poverty, and promote peace.
“There is an urgent need to create and maintain an environment in which all South Sudanese people can achieve the peace and prosperity they deserve.”
“This potential should be first and foremost in our minds when we consider the harm caused by sub-national violence across the country, in which ethnic identities are often politicized.”
He said the Troika remains committed to the peace agreement as the only way to deliver the peace, security, and democracy that the South Sudanese people have waited for so long for.
“We strongly believe in the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.”
He called on the government to implement the 2018 peace deal in full and in accordance with the timescales set out in the Roadmap.
“On this International Day of Peace, we express the rights of all people in South Sudan to live in peace and security, with justice and opportunity for all.”