UN chief warns South Sudan’s warring leaders to put people first


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned South Sudan’s leaders on Tuesday that they must put the interests of their people above their own if lasting peace is to be achieved in the world’s newest country.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel commander Riek Machar signed another ceasefire agreement on Monday, edging them closer to a final deal to end a 15-month conflict that has ravaged the oil-producing state, mediators said.
“(Ban) regrets that neither of them compromised on a mutually acceptable power-sharing formula,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York on Tuesday.
“He emphasizes that no sustainable peace will be found in South Sudan unless its leaders place the interests of the civilian population above their own,” Dujarric said. “He urges them to prepare for the next round of talks with the intent to expeditiously end the conflict.”

More than 10,000 people have been killed and some 1.5 million driven from their homes during the conflict that erupted in December 2013, two and a half years after independence. Many in the country of about 11 million people are struggling to find enough to eat.