UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The path to peace in South Sudan is expected to be a "very long" process given the "deep roots" of the crisis, the U.N's chief of peacekeeping operations said.
Herve Ladsous, U.N. undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations, issued a statement about conflict in South Sudan after briefing Security Council members about efforts to resolve the crisis.
"It is going to be a very long, complex process to address all the deep roots of this very big crisis," he said in a statement.
Violence erupted in South Sudan in December when President Salva Kiir, a member of the Dinka ethnic community, accused former Vice President Riek Machar, a member of the Nuer community, of trying to overthrow the government. Machar was sidelined when Kiir reshuffled his Cabinet in July, but denies waging a coup.
Representatives from both sides are working in neighboring Ethiopia to find a peaceful resolution to the situation alongside mediators from the region's Intergovernmental Authority on Development
"It is important that the entire international community express total support for IGAD because it is the only diplomatic initiative," Ladsous said in a statement Tuesday.
The United Nations estimates at least 900,000 people in South Sudan have been displaced by the fighting.