Update on South Sudan

Press Statement
Marie Harf
Deputy Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 18, 2013

The United States is deeply troubled by the recent fighting in South Sudan. We call on the country’s political leaders to refrain from any action that could escalate an already tense situation or fuel the violence. It is absolutely critical that political differences be resolved by peaceful and democratic means.

This morning we safely and successfully evacuated three groups of U.S. citizens from South Sudan. Two Department of Defense C-130 aircraft and a private charter flight departed Juba at 0530, 0535, and 0940 EST, respectively, carrying non-emergency Chief of Mission personnel, private U.S. citizens, and third country nationals. We continue to urge U.S. citizens to depart South Sudan and will work to arrange for additional transportation as necessary to accommodate demand, taking into account security conditions and availability of regular commercial flights. The Department of State expresses our sincere gratitude to Department of Defense colleagues for their critical assistance.

Today, Ambassador Page met with President Kiir in Juba to discuss our concern about the continued violence, increasing death toll, and growing humanitarian challenges. She raised the arrests of several opposition members and called on the government to ensure their rights are protected in accordance with South Sudan’s constitution and international humanitarian and human rights laws and norms.

PRN: 2013/1595