News story | Date: 2014-12-15 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
‘It is unacceptable that millions of people in South Sudan continue to suffer while the parties to the conflict show no real willingness to find a solution. The humanitarian disaster in the country is man-made, and President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar bear a heavy responsibility for bringing about a lasting peace,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
Today (15 December) it is one year since the conflict in South Sudan broke out – just two years after the country had gained independence. Since then nearly two million people have had to flee their homes. Four million are in acute need, and the UN now considers the crisis in South Sudan one of the world’s four level-three emergencies.
‘It will not be possible to improve the humanitarian situation without an end to hostilities. A huge international effort has prevented the crisis from becoming even worse, but thousands are still in temporary UN camps. It is vital that the South Sudanese authorities show real responsibility for the hundreds of thousands who have been affected,’ said Mr Brende.
The regional organisation Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has facilitated a ceasefire agreement and helped to develop a framework for a national unity government. It is feared that the situation will worsen if hostilities flare up again. Norway is actively supporting IGAD’s peace efforts in cooperation with countries in the region and in the troika that is made up of Norway, the US and the UK.
‘I am deeply concerned about developments in South Sudan. The conflict can only be resolved at the negotiating table. An escalation of the conflict will exacerbate the situation for an already sorely tried population. We support the work to establish an arms embargo, and unless the parties show a real willingness to negotiate, the discussion of sanctions is inevitable, said Mr Brende.