Cover Story

NOT NOW – U.S should not pullout  

 

Ambassador Mawien Ariik [File photo from Google]

By David Mono Danga

The government has asked the United States of America not to cut its support to South Sudan saying the country needed the US support now more than ever before.

The spokesperson in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ambassador Mawien Ariik said it was a critical moment for the U.S to discontinue the partnership with South Sudan as the leaders were making efforts to unify the ruling party and restore sustainable peace.

This comes after the United States Government issued a press statement on Tuesday threatening to terminate its partnership with South Sudan, saying its leaders “were interested in perpetuating endless wars.”

The U.S said it would initiate a comprehensive review of its assistance programs to South Sudan.

“While we are committed to saving lives, we must also ensure our assistance does not contribute to or prolong the conflict, or facilitate predatory or corrupt behavior.”

Ambassador Mawien Ariik said; “We wish to tell the US Government that they should not pull out their support to South Sudan. We need them because this time the government is ready to compromise on the key issues hindering the revitalization of the peace agreement,” Ambassador Mawien told Juba Monitor in an interview yesterday.

“We are on the right track now. The US and the international community must not give up on the people of South Sudan. We are unifying the party and all those outside the country shall come back. We are observing the secession of hostilities agreement and this time the government is going to come with peace,” he promised.

The press statement from the State Secretariat pointed out that the US was not ready to continue funding a state “that is characterized by ethnically-motivated atrocities.”

The US said the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) was also no longer inclusive due to the forced exile of key leadership representatives who signed the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS).

“The forced exile of key leadership representatives who signed the ARCSS further demonstrates the Kiir regime’s cynical repudiation of the peace process… The Government of South Sudan has lost credibility and the United States is losing patience.  The people of South Sudan deserve a government that is able and willing to lead the country to a stable future,” the statement partly read.

In response to the U.S statement, the International Rescue Committee yesterday asked the U.S Government not to cut aid to South Sudan saying “it is the last remaining lifeline for civilians in the war-torn country.”

Ciaran Donnelly, Senior Vice President of International Programs at the International Rescue Committee said The IRC welcomed the US efforts on conflict resolution and inclusive and accountable political process both of which were essential foundations for durable peace and inclusive development.

“Only focused and determined US and international diplomacy can make these long-sought goals a reality,” Donnelly said.

According to the International Rescue Committee, over half of South Sudanese population (7.6 million) are dependent on humanitarian assistance. The conflict displaced four million, mostly women and children, from their homes and left more than five million people on the brink of starvation, resulting in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

The IRC said it recognized the US’s generosity as the largest humanitarian donor to South Sudan, and urged the US government to use “this review as an opportunity to recommit to the people of South Sudan by affirming that life-saving humanitarian assistance, delivered by credible international partners, will not be affected by the review.”

The Trump Administration also noted that the promotion of UN-sanctioned individuals to senior government positions, such as Jok Riak to Chief of Defense Forces (CDF), demonstrated the government’s contempt of international norms.

The US vowed to condemn any unilateral effort of the current government to extend its power through fake elections, the legislature, or continued military offensives warning that only an inclusive, negotiated agreement is acceptable as a means to extend the Government’s term.

“In 2011United States was a proud and hopeful supporter of the newly independent nation of South Sudan.  Seven years later; the leaders of this country have squandered this partnership, pilfered the wealth of South Sudan, killed their own people and repeatedly demonstrated their inability and unwillingness to live up to their commitments to end the country’s civil war.  The result is one of Africa’s worst humanitarian disasters,” the statement read.

It said the December 2017 cessation of hostilities has never been enacted; fighting across the country increases daily.  Famine is looming once again in multiple areas of South Sudan, and more than seven million people will face life-threatening hunger in the coming months.

The US is South Sudan’s largest donor, giving over $3.2 billion in humanitarian assistance since civil war broke out in December 2013.

Tuesday’s announcement comes amid rising international frustration over the war, which has killed tens of thousands of people and created Africa’s largest refugee crisis in years.

 

 

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