UN gravely concerned at South Sudan's 'food security crisis'

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council is expressing grave concern at the "food security crisis" in war-torn South Sudan.

The council said in a statement after closed-door briefings Friday that ongoing fighting in the country's five-year civil war "is one of the main direct causes" of food insecurity.

U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock mentioned possible famine in parts of South Sudan, according to a council diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was closed.

Neighboring Sudan announced last Sunday that South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and its former vice-president and rebel leader, Riek Machar, had signed a peace deal.

The council urged immediate implementation of a cease-fire and unhindered humanitarian access.

It noted "considerable challenges" on the path to peace including detailed plans for implementation of the peace agreement.