U.S. citizens urged to leave South Sudan

By Marcina Zaccaria,

U.S. citizens were asked to leave South Sudan due to a deteriorating security situation.

An evacuation flight has been arranged by the U.S. State Department, who called for a staff reduction to ensure the safety of diplomatic personnel. Susan Page, the U.S. ambassador, told Reuters, "We are not suspending our operations. We are just minimizing our presence."

The clash in South Sudan began several weeks ago. Rebel forces loyal to former Vice-President Riek Machar stood in defiance. Recent fighting in Bor, a town 190 km north of Juba, escalated. President Salva Kiir declared a state of emergency for Unity state and for Jonglei state, of which Bor is the capital, according to CNN.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other key officials have been in touch with Kiir, and the U.S. is supporting efforts to end the fighting. So far, over 200,000 people have been moved from their homes due to violence throughout the region.

Peace talks in Addis Ababa were called for in an effort to end the hostilities. Negotiations, so far, have been slow. Delegations representing Machar and Kiir have not met face-to-face.

Image of Susan Page: Wikimedia Commons.

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