Washington, DC – Today, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) met with President of South Sudan Salva Kiir.
Menendez and Royce issued the following joint statement after the meeting:
“We are gravely concerned by the continuing crisis in the world’s newest nation, where over a million people are displaced and a man-made famine looms. We are deeply disappointed by South Sudan’s terrible slide backwards into violence and hunger, and stand in solidarity with the South Sudanese people, whose lives now depend upon constructive actions from their political leaders.”
The Congressional leaders called on both parties to the conflict – President Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar – to recommit themselves to a lasting peace.
Specifically, the Chairmen urged Kiir to immediately halt all military operations in his nation and uphold the cessation of hostilities agreement, ensure unfettered humanitarian access for the United Nations mission and aid organizations, and fully commit to ongoing negotiations convened by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
The Chairmen pressed for Kiir to lead the effort to reach agreement for a transitional government by the August 10 deadline and to establish credible accountability measures for those who have committed atrocities, so that national healing might begin. The Chairmen were united in their message that South Sudan’s leaders must take immediate steps to reverse their nation’s devastating trajectory, and that the United States would support increased punitive costs on those that further obstruct the peace process.