ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – The United Nations says it is concerned by South Sudan's announcement to hold elections next year as the country is gripped by civil war.
Haile Menkerios, the U.N. secretary-general's special envoy to the African Union, says the elections planned for July 2018 risk "deepening and extending" the conflict.
The envoy spoke Friday during a U.N. Security Council visit. He says the election can only be held in a stable environment where "people are not displaced by violence and hunger and in which they are able to express their political views free from intimidation."
South Sudan President Salva Kiir seeks an election that will be the first vote on his leadership since the turbulent country won independence in 2011 from Sudan. Presidential elections set for 2015 were delayed by civil war.