S. Sudan seeks negotiation with U.S. over sanctioned officials
NAIROBI, Oct. 2 — South Sudan said Thursday that it is seeking negotiation with the United States over sanctions imposed three senior officials of South Sudan.
President Salva Kiir’s spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told Xinhua that they are not ruling out negotiation with Washington to lift sanctions imposed on these officials. “We think the government should negotiate with the U.S. on the sanctions, because these sanctions are hindering peace implementation,” he said in Juba. The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Sept. 6 imposed sanctions and travel ban that include asset freeze on the minister of information Michael Makuei, South Sudan army (SPLA) deputy chief of staff Malek Rueben and former SPLA chief of staff Paul Malong. It prompted the South Sudanese government to summon Michael Morrow, charge d’affaires at the U.S embassy in Juba, to explain the sanctions which South Sudanese officials called unjust as members of the armed opposition were left out.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is expected to visit Juba in October to discuss with the leadership and assess the situation in the war-torn country. Meanwhile, Ateny said the South Sudan army and police have been ordered by President Kiir to cooperate with the Regional Protection Force (RPF), which has already started to arrive in phases. The 4,000-strong RPF force comprising of Rwandan, Bangladesh, Nepalese and Ethiopian peacekeepers will help free up the already existing 12,000 UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) force, by mainly protecting civilians in the capital and along major highways.
South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute between President Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar led to fighting that pitted mostly Dinka ethnic soldiers loyal to Kiir against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group. The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital forcing Machar to flee into exile. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions others. – XINHUA