June 29, 2018 / 7:56 PM / 2 months ago

U.S., UK, Norway call for end to 'horrendous abuses' in South Sudan

(Reuters) - The United States, Britain and Norway on Friday called for an immediate end to fighting and “horrendous abuses” of civilians in South Sudan in a U.S. State Department press release.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir, Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir and South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar talk after signing a peace agreement aimed to end a war in which tens of thousands of people have been killed, in Khartoum, Sudan June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Rivals in South Sudan signed a peace agreement on Wednesday aimed at ending the civil war. The agreement was signed after two days of talks between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, a former vice president.

“It must allow the return of South Sudan’s refugees and displaced people, and the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance,” the statement from the United States, United Kingdom and Norway said.

South Sudanese sing traditional songs during a South Sudan peace meeting as part of talks to negotiate an end to a civil war that broke out in 2013, in Khartoum, Sudan June 25, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

The civil war in South Sudan began in 2013, less than two years after it declared independence from Sudan, and has uprooted a quarter of the country’s population of 12 million people.

Previous peace agreements in South Sudan have fallen apart.

The statement called for improved security for communities in South Sudan and for an end to the “horrendous abuses endured by civilians at the hands of security forces”.

“Self-monitoring” of the renewed commitment would not be sufficient, the statement said, instead calling for the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism to play a central role with access throughout the country and the publishing of reports.

The peace agreement would need to be solidified with enforcement mechanisms and limits to executive power, with benchmarks such as free and fair elections, the statement said, and it warned that consequences would be sought at the U.N. Security Council for “spoilers of the peace process.”

Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by David Gregorio

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