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Obama, who is vacationing in Hawaii, was keeping an eye on the tense situation in South Sudan. He said continued violence and militancy in South Sudan may cost the world’s newest country the support of the U.S. and other nations.
"This conflict can only be resolved peacefully through negotiations," the White House said in a statement. "Any effort to seize power through the use of military force will result in the end of longstanding support from the United States and the international community."
Four U.S. service members wounded in attack in South Sudan
Secretary of State John Kerry called Kiir to urge the South Sudanese leader to avoid ethnic conflict, preserve the welfare of those fleeing the conflict and protect U.S. citizens there. Kerry was sending a special envoy to the region and told Kiir that South Sudan’s challenges require leadership and political dialogue, the State Department said.
Mediators from East Africa continued to try to help negotiate peace. Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said that they have held "productive" talks with Kiir and that consultations were continuing. Kiir has agreed to "unconditional dialogue" to try to stop the violence.
Associated Press reporters Tom Strong in Washington, Josh Lederman in Honolulu, and Rodney Muhumuza in Kampala, Uganda, contributed to this report.
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