UN calls for South Sudan president, former VP to resolve crisis, threatens sanctions

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The U.N. Security Council is pressing for South Sudan's feuding political leaders to resolve a mounting crisis and is threatening targeted sanctions against those thwarting peace efforts.

A presidential statement approved by all 15 council members on Friday urged President Salva Kiir and former vice president and current rebel leader Riek Machar to implement a cease-fire and form a transitional government by Sunday.

Kiir in December accused Machar of trying to oust him, which unleashed months of ethnic attacks and failed cease-fires. In recent days, relations plunged further with the killing of at least six South Sudanese aid workers.

The council also warns that a "catastrophic" lack of food could lead to famine.

South Sudan is a largely Christian nation that broke off from Muslim-dominated Sudan after a 2011 referendum.