The US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Samantha Power, has urged the former First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar, and the government in Juba to renounce violence.
Last week, Amb Power and the Senegalese Ambassador to the UN, Fode Seck, visited Juba between 2 and 5 September, leading a delegation of the 15-ambassadors of the Security Council to South Sudan.
During the 4-day visit, they met President Salva Kiir and his cabinet and signed a joint communique on the deployment of the regional protection force.
In an interview with Eye Radio at the end of their visit, Amb Power urged Dr Machar and the government to renounce violence and commit to the peace agreement.
She cautioned that any leader who uses violence as a means of achieving political aspirations will face severe “consequences from the international community”.
“So far Riek Machar has been quite outside of the country and I know that we are all eager to hear whether he takes a peaceful posture,” she stated.
“But I just want to underscore that….it is very important to note that if any leader – whether inside South Sudan or outside South Sudan – embraces violence as a tool to achieve their political objective, they will face serious consequences from the international community.”
Amb Power said the mission of the Security Council to South Sudan has achieved a step in getting President Kiir’s public commitment to consent to the deployment of the regional protection force.
But she emphasized that the ultimate goal of the Council is to ensure that peace returns to South Sudan.
She added: “We are heartbroken by what has unfolded here and we are united as a council in wanting to pressure the parties in support of the political agreement, pressure the parties to get UN forces in a more effective role here on the ground in protecting civilians.”
Previously, Dr Machar welcomed the resolution on the deployment of the protection force, saying he needed the force in Juba before he returns.
But Eye Radio has not been able to reach his group after the visit of the Security Council team to Juba.
The delegation of the Council left Juba yesterday for Addis Ababa for meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who is also the chairman of IGAD assembly of the heads of state.
The Council members also met with the African Union Peace and Security Council to discuss the deployment of the protection force and the formation of the hybrid court for South Sudan.