Two-Week Ultimatum: U.S. Says South Sudan's Salva Kiir To Face "Consequences" Unless Peace Deal Signed

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Susan Rice -- says "consequences" for obstructionist Uganda-backed South Sudan ruler Salva Kiir

Salva Kiir, the president of war-torn South Sudan has been threatened with sanctions by the United States through the U.N. Security Council for his refusal yesterday to sign a peace agreement to end the fighting that's ripped the country since 2013.

Tens of thousands are reported to have been killed in the fighting and horrific rapes and mutilations including of children have been documented.

Kiir's rival, Riek Machar, who's also his former vice president signed the deal yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; the agreement also was signed by Pagan Amum, Secretary General of the ruling Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) party.

Civil war erupted in the newly-created nation in December 2013 after a falling out between kiir and Machar.  Many commanders and soldiers of the national army subsequently defected and joined Machar.

Kiir could have suffered military defeat from his rival had it not been for the intervention of Uganda's Yoweri Museveni who was designated as a mediator by regional leaders but instead has been propping the regime in Juba with his army, which has suffered substantial losses on the battle field.

There are media reports that Kiir refused to sign the deal after Gen. Museveni departed prematurely from Ethiopia.

Frustrated with the several previous failed peace attempts brokered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional trade group,  the United Nations, the African Union, and the U.S., National Security Advisor Susan Rice this evening issued a warning to Salva Kiir, who has been sponsored by Uganda, and others who remain obstacles to a peace deal.

Rice's statement reads, "The United States welcomes the signing yesterday by the opposition and other stakeholders of the South Sudan peace agreement. However, we are deeply disappointed that the Government of South Sudan under President Kiir yet again squandered the opportunity to bring peace to their people by refusing to sign the agreement. The U.S. deplores this failure of leadership.

The U.S. greatly appreciates the critical role that Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) leaders are playing in supporting the talks. Their persistence and united approach has brought the parties closer to an agreement that can lead them down the path to peace. The United States will continue to support IGAD as it strives to secure the full and final agreement of the Government of South Sudan within the agreed 15 days. The U.S. calls upon the Government of South Sudan and President Kiir to sign the agreement before IGAD’s deadline without reservation or condition.

Finally, given the high cost of South Sudan’s conflict to regional stability and the security and livelihoods of South Sudan’s people, the United States insists that there must be consequences for those who continue to stand in the way of peace. Today, we have initiated consultations at the United Nations and with our IGAD and other international partners on action in the Security Council to sanction those who undermine the peace process, if an agreement is not signed by the Government within 15 days and a ceasefire is not implemented promptly by all parties."

IGAD comprises: Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

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