The United States on Thursday reaffirmed its vow to cut aid to violence-wracked South Sudan if the government of President Salva Kiir is overthrown in a coup.
Troops loyal to Kiir have been battling forces allied to former vice president Riek Machar in a wave of ethnic violence that has left thousands dead, according to the United Nations.
“We continue to call on all sides of the conflict to work through their differences peacefully and democratically,” a State Department official told AFP.
“We’ve made clear that any effort to seize power through the use of military force will result in the end of longstanding support from the United States and the international community.”
The official said Washington’s special envoy to the country, Donald Booth, was still “on the ground in Juba, urging calm and a peaceful resolution to the crisis.”
The remarks followed an appeal Tuesday by Secretary of State John Kerry in which he urged Machar to declare a ceasefire and talk to Kiir.
Both men have said they are ready to take part in peace talks, but violence has continued. Forces loyal to Kiir and Machar are battling for territory and control of oil resources.
Washington was a key sponsor of the deal that led to the creation of South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, in July 2011, and has provided important diplomatic and economic support since then.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]