Middle East

UN chief accuses South Sudan's government of ignoring famine

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is accusing South Sudan's government of refusing to express "any meaningful concern" about the plight of 100,000 people suffering from famine, 7.5 million in need of humanitarian aid and thousands more fleeing fighting.

The U.N. chief delivered a sharp rebuke Thursday to the country's president, Salva Kiir, saying what the international community hears most often are denials — "a refusal by the leadership to even acknowledge the crisis or to fulfil its responsibilities to end it."

Guterres told the Security Council that Kiir's intention to hold a national dialogue "is not convincing" in the absence of consultation with opponents, the "systematic curtailment of basic political freedoms and restrictions on humanitarian access."

He said "atrocity crimes have occurred with impunity" and the potential for deterioration "remains very real."