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UN rescue internally displaced people in South Sudan north town

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- The UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has rescued a number of displaced people in Bentiu,a town in the northern part of South Sudan after uniformed soldiers attempted to abduct them, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said here Friday.

"Soldiers were seen beating and harassing 11 internally displaced people at a nearby farm," Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here. "UN peacekeepers intervened and rescued seven women and four men."

UNMISS reported that uniformed soldiers attempted to abduct a number of internally displaced people nearby the UN Protection of Civilians site in Bentiu on Thursday evening, Dujarric said.

"In other related incidents the same evening, peacekeepers also prevented the harassment of other people who were returning to the site," he said.

The head of the UN mission, David Shearer, praised the "robust" response of members of the Mongolian Battalion who rescued these people, he said.

Bentiu is the UN’s largest Protection of Civilians site in South Sudan with 120,000 residents.


Ethiopia, South Sudan appeal for urgent aid to drought affected people

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Leaders of Ethiopia and South Sudan on Friday called upon the international community to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the drought affected people.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said, in his joint press conference with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, that "we, together with the president, call upon the international community to come very quickly and save lives in some parts of the horn of Africa region where famine is looming."

According to Hailemariam, the regional leaders have on Wednesday "discussed in Mogadishu on how to collaborate to tackle the problem of drought which has affected the entire Horn of Africa."

Hailemariam has also noted that the Horn of African countries will work together towards sharing resources to tackle the exiting drought.

The Ethiopian premier, however, indicated that "there is donor fatigue towards humanitarian support."

President Kiir, who is in Ethiopia for an official visit from February 23 to 25, said on the occasion that his country is already working with the international community in facilitating the relive work to persons affected and displaced by the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

"The government of South Sudan will also work with the international community to direct the needed assistance to the affected populations in the drought areas," the president said.

"There is no difference and we don’t have any problem in facilitating the work of the humanitarian agencies that will be operating in our country."

A joint communique issued on Friday after the meeting of the two leaders also indicated that "alarmed by the danger of drought that has affected South Sudan and the region, the two leaders agreed to collaborate in doing all they could to avert the crisis."

"They called upon the international community and humanitarian agencies to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the affected people," the joint communique further indicated.

Ethiopia and South Sudan to further strengthen ties

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia and South Sudan on Friday signed eight agreements aimed at further strengthening bilateral ties between the two neighboring countries.

The agreements are part of South Sudan president Salva Kiir’s official visit to Ethiopia from February 23 to 25.

The agreements include Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on the construction of roads, cooperation of health, energy and diesel offtake agreement. Border trade protocol and preferential trade agreement are also included in the agreements.

Construction of two road projects, which will be funded by the Ethiopian government, will be commenced so as to connect the two countries as part of the agreements made between the two leaders.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on the occasion that "the agreement on energy and electricity is to connect South Sudan with Ethiopia.

"This can boost our interdependence and, therefore, lasting peace and coexistence together for the two countries."

According to the joint communique, the two leaders also agreed to form a Joint Border Administrator Committee (JBAC), at the earliest possible time, to further enable them to strengthen cooperation on issues of security, trade development and infrastructure along their common border.

The agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan was also one major discussion point between leaders of the two east African countries.

"Emphasizing the necessity of the National Dialogue as a vital tool to unite the people of South Sudan and restore lasting peace and stability in the country, the two leaders agreed to work together for the inclusive process of the National Dialogue," according to the communique.

Ethiopia, through the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has hosted a number of peace talks between the South Sudanese government and the opposition rebels.

The country is also major destination for South Sudanese refugees.




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