the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the Press Secretary on South Sudan

Three years ago, some four million South Sudanese voted to break with the past and usher in a new period of peace and prosperity.  They expected their leaders to act with courage and conviction, to put the interests of the people first, and to be statesmen, not strongmen.  Months of fighting between the Government of South Sudan and forces loyal to rebel leader Riek Machar run counter to that vision and threaten to tear the young nation apart.  Thousands have been killed.  Nearly one million innocent civilians have been driven from their homes.  Despite a ceasefire agreement, the cycle of violence and conflict continues.

The United States will not stand by as those entrusted with South Sudan’s future put their own interests above those of their people.  The Executive Order signed by President Obama today sends a clear message:  those who threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan, obstruct the peace process, target U.N. peacekeepers, or are responsible for human rights abuses and atrocities will not have a friend in the United States and run the risk of sanctions.  Both the Government of South Sudan and Riek Machar’s rebels must immediately engage in and follow through on the inclusive peace process led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and resolve this conflict.  They must end military actions and hold accountable those responsible for violence against civilians.  The people of South Sudan are calling for peace.  There is no room for excuses or delay.