Kerry in South Sudan in U.S. push to halt conflict

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the President's Office in JubaBy Phil Stewart JUBA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew into South Sudan on Friday to push for a halt to more than four months of fighting in Africa’s newest nation, a message he was expected to deliver in talks with President Salva Kiir. Kerry’s trip to South Sudan, his first as Secretary of State, came a day after he renewed U.S. threats of sanctions and held out hope for the rapid deployment of more peacekeepers. “Secretary Kerry will reiterate the need for all parties to respect the cessation of hostilities agreement, to immediately cease attacks on civilians, and to fully cooperate with the United Nations and humanitarian organizations,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. More than 1 million people have fled their homes since fighting erupted in December between troops backing Kiir and soldiers loyal to his sacked deputy, Riek Machar.

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