South Sudan’s Kiir, USAID’s Green disagree over humanitarian access

September 2, 2017 (JUBA) – The visiting head of USAID Mark Green disclosed that his meeting with President Salva Kiir disagreed with him on the need to address the humanitarian situation and to stop the war, warning that Washington is reviewing its policy towards Juba.

On Saturday, Green wrapped a two-day visit to South Sudan where he visited Juba and Wau to assess the situation in the war-ravaged country and inspect the humanitarian activities of the USAID, the largest donor to the people of South Sudan.

In statements to Reuters, the USAID head said that President Kiir denied that the army and allied forces impede the humanitarian access the civilians in the war affected areas.

“He disagreed with our assessment that there are problems with humanitarian access,” Green said. The USAID chief added he told the South Sudanese president that Washington is seriously reconsidering its policy towards his government.

“While it is true that we support the people of South Sudan, it is just as true that the situation has deteriorated to the point where a serious re-examination of U.S. policy is appropriate,” he added.

“I told him that in the next few weeks we are undertaking a complete review of our policy toward South Sudan,” he said, pointing that his discussions with Kiir were “cleared at the highest levels” in Washington.

During his visit, Green met with the UN agencies and humanitarian groups. Also, he met with the UNMISS leadership which struggle to protect aid groups on the ground.

In a separate statement released after his departure, the USAID said Green strongly urged Kiir to stop military operations and to end obstructing humanitarian access as well as to work for a viable peace in the troubled country.

“He urged the President to help end the suffering of his people by taking a number of specific steps on an urgent basis: restoring a permanent ceasefire by ceasing ongoing military offensives; ending obstruction of humanitarian access; eliminating exorbitant fees levied on aid organizations; and engaging in a meaningful, inclusive peace process,” reads the statement.

The newly appointed USAID administrator further described South Sudan as the most dangerous country in the world for aid workers, and he called on the President to ensure the security of aid workers and end impediments that block or delay the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

The USAID provided some $2.7 billion of humanitarian aid to the South Sudan since the start of the four-year conflict.