UN urges South Sudan rivals to form unity government
NEW YORK - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Monday on warring factions in South Sudan to resolve their differences and quickly form a new national unity government.
The two sides missed a January 22 deadline for forming the transitional government after rebels rejected President Salva Kiir's creation of new regional states while fighting persists.
In a statement, Ban expressed concern over the deadlock and urged that it be addressed at an upcoming African Union summit.
"The formation of the Transitional Government is an essential step in implementing the peace agreement and laying the foundation for peace and stability in the country," Ban said through his spokesman.
An August 26 peace accord was supposed to put an end to a two-year-old civil war marked by atrocities on both sides.
But the fighting has not stopped and each side accuses the other of not living up to their commitments.
"The Secretary-General calls on the parties to overcome their differences," the UN statement said, pledging continued support for the people of South Sudan, who Ban said have been "subjected to unimaginable suffering and human rights abuses."
South Sudan became independent in July 2011, but plunged into civil war December 15, 2013. Fighting broke out within the national army, riven by ethnic tensions fueled by a rivalry between Kiir and his former vice president, Riek Machar.