US 'deeply concerned' about South Sudan violence

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HONOLULU (AP) - The White House says it remains "deeply concerned" about the fragile security situation in South Sudan.

In a statement Tuesday, spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden urged South Sudan's leaders to take immediate steps to end the current conflict. She also welcomed an agreement between the government and rebels to hold talks for the first time.

Hayden says the U.S. will deny support to any elements that use force to seize power and will work to ensure accountability for those perpetrating atrocities and war crimes. She says the U.S. is concerned about reports of human rights abuses allegedly carried out by both the government and rebel forces.

More than 1,000 people have been killed in ethnically-based violence that began coursing through South Sudan in mid-December. Some believe that estimate is too low.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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