John Kerry Visits South Sudan to Push for an End to Fighting

President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan, right, greeted U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Juba, South Sudan, on Friday. (Credit: Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)
President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan, right, greeted U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Juba, South Sudan, on Friday. (Credit: Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived here Friday morning in an urgent effort to persuade the president of South Sudan and his rebel opponent to halt the fighting that has killed thousands and is ripping the nation apart.

Mr. Kerry plans to meet Friday morning with Salva Kiir, South Sudan’s president, and to speak by phone after the visit with Riek Machar, the former vice president who fled the capital last December and is leading a rebellion against Mr. Kiir.

“We will be delivering tough messages to both sides,” said a senior State Department official who previewed Mr. Kerry’s trip earlier this week.

“They will be held accountable,” the official added, “if they don’t take the necessary actions to end the hostilities.”

South Sudan became the African Union’s 54th member in July 2011, achieving its independence after decades of guerrilla struggle with the strong backing of the United States.

In December 2013, President Kiir accused Mr. Machar, whom he had dismissed from his post in July, of mounting a coup. Mr. Machar, who had suggested that he might challenge Mr. Kiir for the leadership of their party, has denied the allegation.

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SOURCE:  
The New York Times

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