|AU reiterates deep concern at continued fighting in South Sudan|
ADDIS ABABA, July 26 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) has reiterated its deep concern at the prevailing situation in South Sudan, marked by continued fighting and attacks against civilians.
The AU Peace and Security Council officially received the report of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS) and deliberated on it during a meeting held on Friday at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, according to a statement from the pan-African bloc later Saturday.
The Council reiterated AU's deep concern at the situation prevailing in South Sudan, marked by continued fighting and attacks against civilian populations and other serious human rights abuses, as well as by a dire humanitarian crisis, including forced displacement, acute food insecurity, access restrictions and other impediments to humanitarian assistance, said the statement.
The warring parties in South Sudan have continued the war since mid December 2013 in the world's youngest nation despite their agreement reached under the mediation of the East African bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
The Council, once again, condemned in the strongest terms all the violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of 23 January 2014 committed by the parties, as well as the attacks and other egregious acts of violence and abuses of human rights.
The Council also condemned the attacks against civilians and other acts of violence and harassment targeting the humanitarian agencies, including their personnel and assets.
It further reiterated Africa's deep disappointment at the continued unwillingness and lack of political will of the leaders of the warring parties to make the compromises necessary to reach an agreement that would end the conflict in their country and the untold suffering they are deliberately inflicting on their own people.
The Council expressed shock and outrage at the level of violence and cruelty meted out by the South Sudanese protagonists on the civilian population and the disregard of the South Sudanese leaders to the suffering of their own people.
The statement said "Council demands that the armed belligerents immediately and fully respect the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and end, once for all, all acts of violence, and agrees, should this become necessary, to deploy an African force to bring the ongoing tragedy in South Sudan to a definite end."
The Council commended the Chairperson of IGAD and the other leaders of the region, for their sustained efforts in facilitating a negotiated political solution to the conflict in South Sudan, including through the establishment of the IGAD Plus mechanism, and reiterated AU's support to these efforts, including through the High Level Ad hoc Committee on South Sudan and the High Representative for South Sudan, former President Alpha Oumar Konare of Mali.
The Council also reiterated AU's support to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), as well as to the IGAD Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVM), and demanded once again that the parties fully cooperate with UNMISS and the MVM to enable them to effectively discharge their respective mandates.
The Council "reiterates the AU's support to the steps taken towards the implementation of the Arusha Agreement of 21 January 2015, and welcomes the efforts of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) of Tanzania and the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa in this regard, aimed at reuniting the SPLM and the subsequent return to South Sudan of the former political detainees."
The Council reaffirmed AU's commitment to a comprehensive approach to the issues of peace, justice and reconciliation in Africa, rooted in contexts specific to each country.