September 14, 2017 (KAMPALA) – A senior United States diplomat has urged leader of the various African countries to put pressure on South Sudan’s political leaders to enable them end the ongoing civil war.
- President Salva Kiir greets First Vice President Riek Machar before to start a meeting at the South Sudanese presidency in Juba on 3 June 2016 (Photo Moses Lomayat)
“We think there is more our African colleagues can and should be doing at this point, especially in terms of focusing on leadership, that from our point of view is behaving in a way that is very irresponsible,” Reuters quoted Tom Shannon, U.S. under-secretary for political affairs at the State Department while speaking at the sidelines of a U.S-African Partnerships event at the U.S. Institute of Peace on Thursday.
The conflict in South Sudan broke out in December 2013 following political disagreements within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). The civil war has displaced over 2 million people.
Shannon reportedly described South Sudan’s leaders as being “intolerant” and that African countries needed to work towards seeing an end to the war that has killed tens of thousands of people.
“This is a manmade conflict of horrific dimensions, which is about political leaders measuring each other through force at the cost of their populations,” the U.S diplomat was further quoted saying.
Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions and travel ban that include an asset freeze on South Sudan’s deputy defence chief, Malek Reuben, the information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth and the ex-military chief of staff, Paul Malong Awan.
Washington said the sanctions were imposed on the two government officials and the former general for their alleged roles in destabilizing the country and “enriching” themselves through corruption.
Also, during a joint meeting of the UN Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa on 8 September, American diplomats again the need for imposition of a UN arms embargo on South Sudan.
Washington blames Juba for not implementing the peace agreement signed in August 2015. During the joint meeting, U.S. diplomats also supported the idea that elections should not be held next year before the full implementation of the IGAD brokered deal.
One of the countries that recognized South Sudan’s independence in 2011, the U.S played a key role in helping create the 2005 Comprehensive Peace accord (CPA) that laid the groundwork for the 2011 referendum, through which South Sudanese overwhelmingly voted for independence prior to the country’s secession on 9 July.
Currently, the US government remains the leading international donor to South Sudan and provides significant humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese citizens displaced or otherwise affected since the start of the country’s crisis in December 2013.