JUBA, The Visiting United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, has called on leaders of South Sudan, which has seen more than half of its existence as an indepndent nation mired in a civil war, to stick to the ongoing peace talks to end the suffering of their people.

Speaking at the conclusion of a two-day visit to the war-torn East African country, which peacefully seceded from the Sudan in 2011 to become the world’s youngest independent country, she said the UN welcomed the latest peace efforts taking place between the rival South Sudan leaders in Sudan, adding that the talks remained the only opportunity to stabilize the nation.

“We are seeing that there is a peace accord that could happen and that is another opportunity for South Sudan to rebirth and to rebirth in a way that takes concrete steps to include everyone,” she told the media here Wednesday.

Last week, President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signed a cessation of hostilities agreement in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and pledged to end more than four years of fighting but the pact was broken hours after it took effect and the parties have been trading blame for the reversal.

Amina arrived in South Sudan on Tuesday for a joint UN- African Union (AU) visit seeking to promote women’s participation in peace-building and development. She was accompanied by the AU’s Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, Bineta Diop, as part of a six-day tour of South Sudan, Chad and Niger aimed at enhancing women’s participation in peace, security and development in the three countries.

While in South Sudan, the delegation met President Salva Kiir, senior government officials, humanitarian and diplomatic missions, visited a UN -protected camp for displaced people and also launched a centre to treat victims of gender-based and sexual violence.

Amina said she got first-hand testimonies from women who suffered sexual violence and rape in South Sudan and it is now time for the armed actors to do more to end all forms of violence against women and children.

“This delegation is here to constantly remind the world that these problems are not over, they are urgent and we need to deal with them now,” she said. “For us, there is hope, it is tough. It is going to be a long journey and we need to accompany the South Sudanese women and people to succeed in having their aspirations realized.”

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world. The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under United Nations pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government, but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016.

Source: Nam News Network