(WASHINGTON) -- While touring the storm-affected areas of Tacloban in the Philippines, Secretary of State John Kerry commented on the tense situation going on in the South Sudan.
"The U.S. believes very strongly that all parties should refrain from any actions that would further escalate the tensions,: Kerry said. "The government should respect the rule of law."
A statement from the U.S. Department of State said that steps were being taken to ensure the safety of U.S. diplomats in the Sudan. On Tuesday, the U.S. embassy in the South Sudan was closed and all non-emergency personnel were ordered to leave.
“The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to the Republic of South Sudan and recommends that U.S. citizens currently in South Sudan depart immediately,” the State Department announced. “On December 17, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from South Sudan because of ongoing political and social unrest. The Embassy is also suspending normal operations until further notice and cannot provide routine consular services to U.S. citizens in South Sudan.”
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Monday said his forces had put down an attempted coup by soldiers loyal to his former deputy, Riek Machar. Kiir said the government was in full control of the capital, Juba, after a night of heavy fighting between soldiers in the presidential guard.
Meanwhile, 13,000 people have fled to a U.N. compound on the outskirts of Juba, the UN mission to South Sudan said on Monday in a press release.
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