Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni is in Juba to attend the 3rd Independence Anniversary celebrations of South Sudan.
Meanwhile, the United Nations is urging warring factions in South Sudan to return to the negotiations as the country celebrates its independence anniversary, today July 9th.
Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General says the country’s leaders should use the occasion of the third anniversary of independence to live up to the expectations of their people, lay down their arms and return to negotiations.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, Ban Ki-Moon recalled the hopes and expectations of the people of South Sudan when their country was established on July 9th2011, following a UN-supported referendum. But the day is now celebrated without hope, Ban Ki Moon adds.
“Those hopes were dashed by the conflict that broke out in December 2013”, according to the statement, which points out that thousands of South Sudanese have been killed, and atrocities have been committed against civilians.
In mid-December 2013, political infighting between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar turned into a full-fledged conflict that has since then uprooted some 1.5 million people and placed more than 7 million at risk of hunger and disease.
The conflict sent nearly 100,000 civilians fleeing to UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) bases around the country, leading the Mission to take the unprecedented decision to open its doors to those seeking protection.
The UN Secretary General added that South Sudanese people are bearing the brunt of the failure to stop the fighting. He says they are living in squalor with lost livelihoods and plagued by hunger, disease and insecurity.
Negotiations aimed at peaceful settlement of the disagreements, being mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, stalled on June 24thover fresh disagreements between negotiating parties.
After an indefinite closure of the peace talks, there is cloud of doubt surrounding its progress.