The armed conflict in South Sudan has intensified in recent days, exacerbated by a new military offensive in Unity State. Concerned by the humanitarian consequences of the fighting and the difficulties faced by relief organisations on the ground, HRVP Mogherini and Commissioner Stylianides made the following statement:
“South Sudan’s man-made crisis has caused one of the worst humanitarian disasters of recent years. The renewed fighting in Unity State is a serious breach of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, forcing thousands of civilians to flee their homes. It is essential that all parties respect the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement throughout the country in order to spare the suffering of innocent civilians and to facilitate the life-saving work of humanitarian organisations. All parties have an obligation to protect and respect civilians irrespective of their ethnic origin or political affiliation.
There can be no military solution to this conflict. Only a concerted effort by political leaders to reach a negotiated solution will bring an end to the suffering of the people of South Sudan and enable them to live in peace and allow the country to resume its development. Responsibility for this rests on the shoulders of those leaders. If they fail to make the necessary effort for peace, they will inevitably be held responsible also for the consequences.”