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US recalls ambassador from South Sudan after unity government failure

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The United States has recalled its ambassador from South Sudan after the leaders of formerly warring factions failed to agree on a unity government, the US State Department said on Monday.

Ambassador Thomas Hushek will return for consultations “as part of the re-evaluation of the US relationship with the Government of South Sudan given the latest developments,” the department said in a statement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that Washington would “work with the region to support efforts to achieve peace and a successful political transition in South Sudan.”

After a devastating five-year civil war, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar signed a peace deal in September 2018, under pressure from the United Nations, United States, and regional governments.

On November 7, they agreed to give themselves another 100 days beyond a November 12 deadline to form the unity government, and Washington said it was “gravely disappointed.”

The conflict began after Kiir sacked Machar as vice president. It killed an estimated 400,000 people, triggered a famine, and created Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.