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In South Sudan, UN peacekeeping chief urges an end to fighting to give peace process 'better chance'

The conflict in South Sudan has to end in order to give the peace process there “a better chance of success,” the top United Nations peacekeeping official said today, kicking off a three-day trip to the African country.

In the South Sudanese capital, Juba, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix met with with senior Government officials including the First Vice-President Taban Deng, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deng Alor and the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Martin Lomuro, as well as other ministers.

The peacekeeping chief said that there was a “shared understanding” with the Government that actions and initiatives to advance peace are important and that they have to be put in place to accelerate the implementation of the Peace Agreement and bring sustainable peace to the world's youngest nation.

Mr. Lacroix underlined that the peace process could not move forward if fighting continued.

The UN peacekeeping chief commended efforts made by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and neighbouring countries, such as Uganda, to revitalize the implementation of the Peace Agreement and to bring stakeholders together.

The conflict in South Sudan began in December 2013 and since then a humanitarian crisis has developed which has left more than 5.5 million people in need of aid. Some 1.7 million refugees have also fled to neighbouring countries.

“The UN is here to help move forward efforts to achieve peace in South Sudan and to help the people of South Sudan,” said Mr. Lacroix. “UN humanitarian agencies are doing their best to help South Sudanese and we look forward to further cooperation with the Government so that we can access populations in distress wherever the needs are.”