OSLO, Norway, January 23, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — “Norway welcomes the ceasefire agreement in South sudan. It is crucial that the parties now keep strictly to these agreements. All hostilities must cease at once and civilians must get access to humanitarian assistance,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The conflicting parties – the Government of South Sudan, and a delegation representing former Vice President Riek Machar – have today taken an important step towards reaching a peaceful solution to the conflict. The ceasefire agreement was brokered by mediators from the regional organisation Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with Ethiopia playing a facilitator role and hosting the talks in Addis Ababa.
“The ceasefire agreement is essential for ensuring that humanitarian assistance can reach the many people affected by the conflict, who are in dire need of protection, food, drinking water, medical assistance and shelter. The UN and its peace mission UNMISS are playing a key role in the efforts to stabilise the situation in South sudan. I would like to express Norwayʼs full support of UNMISS in this context,” said Mr Brende.
The current crisis in South Sudan began in mid-December last year, as a result of growing internal divisions in the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). The hostilities have resulted in widespread devastation and massive humanitarian needs. According to UN estimates, several thousand people have been killed and almost half a million have been forced to flee from their homes.
“The parties must quickly negotiate the next step, which is to establish a broad and inclusive political process, with civil society organisations – including women’s rights organisations – playing a central role. A process of this kind can pave the way for more robust democratic development, allowing the underlying causes of this serious crisis to be addressed. Norway stands ready to support these efforts,” said Mr Brende.
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