Statement of the spokesperson on South Sudan’s peace talks and abductions of young children

A further round of IGAD sponsored negotiations to end the conflict in South Sudan is beginning in Addis Ababa. South Sudan’s leaders have given their commitment to resolve all outstanding issues, including power sharing, no later than 5 March. Under the February 1 agreement  both leaders committed to be present for the duration of the negotiations. We expect  them to do so. 
The EU calls on President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Dr Riek Machar not to miss another opportunity to deliver on their commitments. The recent decision of the Government of South Sudan to modify the constitution to extend the mandate of the President and the National Legislature must not be used as a reason to delay reaching a peace agreement beyond 5 March.
Every additional day that passes increases the risk of renewed conflict and worsens the already dreadful humanitarian situation of the long suffering people of South Sudan.  The abduction of a group young children yesterday in Wau Shilluk to become child soldiers is yet another illustration of the complete disregard by the parties for respect of fundamental human rights.
It is therefore crucial that the perpetrators of human rights abuses are held accountable. Justice must be part of the peace process. The EU again urges the AU Peace and Security Council to urgently consider the report of the AU Commission of Inquiry into human rights abuses in South Sudan and follow up on its findings without further delay.