(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday urged South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to meet with his rival former Vice-President Riek Machar on June 9 in order to reach agreement on "substantive issues," his press office said in a statement.
The request was made during a phone call during which Ban expressed his "grave concern" that hostilities have continued in the country in violation of two previous agreements, and to stress the need for both parties to "end all military operations immediately." Ban recalled during the conversation both parties' commitment to meet on a monthly basis to review progress in the implementation of the latest agreement they signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 9.
Ban also took the opportunity to urge Kiir to extend his "full support" to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and to implement its new mandate as set out by a recently adopted Security Council resolution which reprioritized the mission's mandate towards the protection of civilians.
Political infighting between Kiir and Machar, who belong to different tribes, turned into a full-fledged conflict in mid-December, killing over 1,000 people and uprooting over one million, including some 80,000 civilians who sought refuge at UNMISS bases around the country.