Cuts in U.S. aid encourage S. Sudan opposition to resist peace: official

(JUBA) – South Sudan regretted a decision by the White House to review all types of financial support provided to South Sudan, saying such measures would encourage the opposition to resist regional efforts to end the civil war.

The White House Tuesday denounced the “inability and unwillingness” of South Sudanese leaders to end the over-four-year armed conflict and announced a comprehensive review of its assistance to the troubled country.

The purpose of the review is to ensure that U.S. “assistance does not contribute to or prolong the conflict, or facilitate predatory or corrupt behaviour”. It will include support for the 2015 peace deal implementation and monitoring.

“Now as we are about to go for consultations (in Ethiopia) tomorrow, we are getting negative comments from the U.S., said South Sudan Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Mawen Makol Arik.

“Does the American government really want peace in South Sudan? Such statements are the ones emboldening the opposition not to work for peace,” Arik wondered.

Pointing to the strongly worded statements against the Transitional National Unity Government led by President Salva Kiir, the South Sudanese diplomat stressed Juba commitment to reach a negotiated settlement to the conflict.

“Whatever decision they have arrived to, it is their legitimate right to do. We government of South Sudan cannot decide for the U.S.. The government is committed to the peace process through the (IGAD-led) revitalization forum and the national dialogue,” Arik said.

“If they have decided not to help us, we will urge other people who are supporting the peace process to continue with their support,” he stressed.

The White House said the government of President Kiir “is no longer inclusive. Further, it underlined that “the forced exile of key leadership representatives who signed the ARCSS further demonstrates the Kiir regime’s cynical repudiation of the peace process.”


Meanwhile, South Sudan’s coalition government released a similar statement accusing the US of being a “real obstacle” to a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

“The united States has actually been quite a real obstacle towards achieving a peaceful settlement in South Sudan. Its actions in the Security Council says nothings about wanting a peaceful settlement as its obstruction to the agreement on the reunification of the SPLM goes a long way to suggest that the united states want a particular settlement to the conflict, not the one we have been pursuing”, partly reads the statement released Wednesday.

The latest US move, it further stressed, represent “a naked direct interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state and hurts peace process and restrain relations”.

South Sudan’s coalition government said Washington’s “issuing ill considered statements such as this can only hurt the process and further restraint relationship”.

Last March, the U.S. State Department announced that it would take measures against 15 South Sudan oil-related entities “whose revenues have contributed to the ongoing crisis in South Sudan.”

Before, Washington in February 2018 established a weapons embargo on South Sudan and imposed targeted sanctions on several South Sudanese officials from the government and the rebel groups.

However, it failed to convince the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution imposing arms embargo despite several attempts in this respect. Russia and China reject the ban.


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