LONDON, United-Kingdom, February 12, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Minister for Africa urges rapid progress on political talks in South Sudan, investigation into human rights abuses and outlines UK support.
Mark Simmonds, FCO Minister for Africa, today hosted a meeting with South Sudan’s Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin during his visit to the United Kingdom.
Speaking after the meeting, Mark Simmonds said:
“I have today assured Foreign Minister Benjamin of the full backing that the UK is giving to regional efforts to restore peace to South sudan. We discussed the urgency of making real progress in the political talks, which restarted in Ethiopia this week. I underlined that the process must be inclusive, and have a role for those political leaders who were detained at the start of the conflict. The UK’s Envoy to the talks will be working hard to support the mediation efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
“I welcomed the progress made in establishing the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism to oversee the ceasefire, and encouraged the Foreign Minister to ensure everything possible is being done to facilitate its work. The UK will continue to provide expert support to monitoring.
“I also asked Minister Benjamin to ensure that there are no further threats made against the UN in South Sudan, and that no restrictions are placed on its ability to protect civilians and support efforts to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the South Sudanese people.
“I welcomed the assurances given by Minister Benjamin about investigation of abuses committed by either side during the conflict. I stressed the need for there to be a credible and independent process to provide accountability, as well as broader efforts to promote national reconciliation.”