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US makes diplomatic efforts toward settling conflict in South Sudan--State Dept

December 25, 2013, 5:51 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
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WASHINGTON, December 25, 5:18 /ITAR-TASS/. The United States is making active diplomatic efforts with a view to settling the armed conflict in South Sudan, the conflict which has already resulted in the death of thousands of civilians, in attacks on UN peacekeepers, and an evacuation of foreigners from that African country.

Jen Psaki, head of the State Department press service, said Tuesday that Ambassador Donald Booth, US special representative, continued to work in South Sudan's capital Juba, seeking the conclusion of a truce between the government and the rebels.

For the same purposes, US Secretary of State John Kerry had a telephone conversation Tuesday with South Sudan President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar, leader of the rebel movement. The US closely coordinates its efforts with the UN which is also actively involved in work toward settling the conflict.

The situation in South Sudan, which had become an independent state in 2011, grew aggravated ten days ago after the Guard of the President, who represents the Dinka ethnic group, sough to disarm other servicemen who constitute ethnic majority of Nuer tribe.

The State Department spokeswoman said the US was calling on all the sides involved in the conflict in South Sudan immediately to cease the hostile actions. She emphasized that this is essential not only for the start of talks on a settlement of the internal political crisis in the country but also for the rendering of humanitarian aid to local residents who fled the areas hit by combat operations.

Earlier Tuesday the UN Security Council approved the dispatch of an additional number of UN peacekeepers to South Sudan. The strength of the peacekeeping contingent of the UN Mission in South Sudan will be brought up to 12,500. The reinforcement will be provided resultant of other UN missions in the region, including those in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, as well as Darfur (district in Sudan's west), and Abyei (a disputed territory at the Sudan - South Sudan border).

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