Put country first and resolve the conflict, Obama tells South Sudan leaders

President Obama addressing the regional leaders consultative meeting on South Sudan, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Monday July 27

President Obama addressing the regional leaders consultative meeting on South Sudan, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Monday July 27

The US President Barack Obama has urged South Sudanese leaders to put interests of South Sudanese people first and politically resolve the devastating conflict that has paralyzed the world’s youngest nation for the last 19 months.

“The situation is dire and we agree that the best way to stop the fighting is for the South Sudanese leaders to put their country first with a peace agreement that ends the fighting,” Obama said Saturday.

The US leader made the call in Kenya while on a three-day landmark visit to his father’s homeland to attend the just concluded Sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi.

Obama reiterated the terrible conflict in South Sudan has led to regrettable loss of lives and unbearable suffering to the Sudanese People.

President Obama has convened a regional “Consultative meeting on how to make progress on the vexing subject” of South Sudan, Monday at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Obama chaired-meeting was attended the Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

The two notable absentees at the summit were President Salvar Kiir of South Sudan and former Vice President and now rebel leader fighting the Juba government Riek Machar.

Obama and regional leaders discussing the "Vexing"  subject of South Sudan Conflict

Obama and regional leaders discussing the “Vexing” subject of South Sudan Conflict

The conflict in oil-rich South Sudan has forced more than 2 million people especially women and children from their homes and country.

The United Nations Security Council earlier this month imposed sanctions on six generals in the South Sudanese warring parties for perpetuating the conflict that has plagued the newest country in the world since 2013.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said then that sanctions demonstrated that “those who commit atrocities and undermine peace will face consequences.”

Calls by regional leaders and the international community notwithstanding, the government and the rebels have failed to sign on to a deal that would bring peace to South Sudan.

South Sudan just celebrated its 4th Independence Anniversary this month.

In June, the UN released a new damning report alleging South Sudanese government forces had gang-raped, and burned women and girls alive in Unity State as they fought the rebels.

That same month, the former President of Mali Alpha Oumar Konaré was appointed the African Union High Representative to South Sudan in bid to spearhead an “African Action” to restore peace in the continent’s young nation.