JUBA, Jan. 31 (Press Shia) –- The European Union (EU) has called for the need of an inclusive political solution in South Sudan, urging warring Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA-in-Opposition to cease hostilities and protect civilians from crossfire.

In a statement received in Juba, the EU expressed concern about the continuing spread of fighting and the risk of inter-communal violence escalating into mass atrocities, and the dire humanitarian situation in the country.”The population of South Sudan must be spared further suffering. An immediate cessation of hostilities must be accompanied by a process of political consultation that is representative of, and trusted by, the entire population of South Sudan,” the EU said.The world’s youngest nation has faced ongoing challenges since a political face-off between President Salva Kiir and his then former Vice-President Riek Machar erupted into full blown conflict between forces loyal to each in December 2013.The crisis has produced one of the world’s worst displacement situations with immense suffering for civilians.Despite the August 2015 peace agreement that formally ended the war, conflict and instability have also spread to previously unaffected areas of the country, sparking a humanitarian crisis.The EU, which echoed a statement issued by the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the UN on Sunday, said an inclusive political process should be initiated without delay and without obstacles. “There are no shortcuts to full and fair representation,” said the EU and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and urged the parties to ensure an inclusive political process in the proposed National Dialogue and in the implementation of the peace deal. The EU said it stands ready both to support such an effort and further to strengthen and enhance international cooperation in support of the South Sudan peace process.

XINHUA/Press Shia