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U.S. schedules hearing on South Sudan violence

Jan. 9, 2014 at 9:15 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- The chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee said he wanted to hear why South Sudan has taken a tragic turn for the worse despite U.S. involvement.

South Sudan descended into chaos in December after President Salva Kiir accused former Vice President Riek Machar of launching a coup. Machar was sidelined when Kiir reshuffled his Cabinet in mid-2013 but denies trying to topple the government.

U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House committee, Wednesday said he scheduled a hearing to assess the turn of events in South Sudan, the world's newest nation.

"The United States has expended significant time, money, and energy to usher in an independent southern Sudan," he said in a statement. "Sadly, we now see political figures that once stood up against the brutal regime in Khartoum, with hopes of bringing freedom and prosperity to their people, now turning their weapons against one another."

Washington helped broker a 2005 peace deal in Sudan that paved the way to South Sudan's independence in 2011.

Royce summoned African specialists from the U.S. Agency for International Development and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, assistant secretary of state for African affairs, to testify.

Parties to the South Sudanese conflict are meeting in Ethiopia to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

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