U.S. Secretary of
State John Kerry has cautioned South Sudan of the costs of ongoing violence and
internal chaos by reminding the country’s leaders that the US $138 million in
aid is contingent on the country’s political progress. The Secretary of State’s
comments came while visiting Nairobi during the early stages of a six-day trip
in Africa and the Middle East focused on security. During his trip, Mr. Kerry
met with the foreign ministers of Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda,
and focused their attention on restoring stability in South Sudan after the
breakdown of a peace agreement between rebels and the government.
The reemergence of a
violent conflict in South Sudan resulted in hundreds of deaths, chaos, and the
spread of sexual violence after soldiers raped Sudanese and Western women at a
hotel compound in South Sudan. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha
Power followed Kerry’s condemnations of recent developments in South Sudan by
describing the rapes committed by soldiers as “ghastly acts” and called for the
government to hold those guilty accountable for their crimes.
Since the ethnic
conflict emerged in South Sudan in December 2013, the U.S., the biggest donor
to South Sudan, has spent $1.6 billion in an attempt to introduce a sustainable
plan for peace. The U.S. funding and consultation helped bring about the 2015
introduction of a power-sharing deal designed to quell tensions between
president Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar. When the deal collapsed
in July and the country spiraled into violence, Mr. Kerry and the U.S. called for
the deployment of a 4,000 member UN “protection force.” Despite initially
rejecting the proposal for infringing on national sovereignty, South Sudan has
finally accepted the 4,000 UN peacekeepers in a move that many hope will bring
the stability needed for a return to the negotiating table.
From the New York Times:
new protection force intended for South
was authorized by the United Nations this month needs to be deployed there as
soon as possible to safeguard civilians, especially women and girls, Secretary
of State John
need to move forward,” Mr. Kerry said, calling South Sudan’s ethnically based
conflict, which has killed tens of thousands in the past two and a half years,
tragic and reprehensible.
Kerry made the remarks while visiting Nairobi for the beginning of a six-day
trip to Africa and the Middle East.
newspapers have described Mr. Kerry’s visit as a “peace mission” because
the region’s conflicts are at the top of the agenda. Mr. Kerry is familiar with
East Africa’s troubles, having flown in several times over the years to
advocate peace proposals.”