3rd April 2020
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It’s too early to lift US sanctions – official

Author: Koang Pal | Published: Thursday, February 27, 2020

Kuol Manyang and Dr Martin Elia are some of the leaders the US government has blacklisted for their roles in the conflict

The US State Department says it is too early to consider lifting arms sanctions imposed on South Sudan even though the leaders’ formed a unity government this month.

This came after regional leaders and President Salva Kiir call for lifting of sanctions against individuals.

Last week, some regional leaders have echoed calls to lift individual sanctions against South Sudan leaders to enable full implementation of the peace agreement.

Two weeks ago, President Salva Kiir called on member countries of the African Union to help in lifting US sanctions against South Sudan’s leaders.

This came after the Trump administration sanctioned Vice President Taban Deng Gai.

Other members of Kiir’s former cabinet including Kuol Manyang, Dr. Martin Elia, and Michael Makuei, were also sanctioned in 2019 for what the US described as “obstruction of reconciliation efforts in South Sudan”.

The sanctioned individuals denied all the accusations.

In a statement seen by Eye Radio, a senior state department official, who is not identified told the press in Washington DC that, it’s too early to call off sanctions and they should as they are.

“The other big area of sanctions are the UN sanctions, including the arms embargo, and I think it’s way too early to consider lifting the arms embargo,” said the senior official at the State Department.

The official call for the establishment of a hybrid court and the Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing Commission.

The hybrid court – it’s an AU-South Sudan hybrid court that will address the worst perpetrators of human rights atrocities during the war.

Although the state department official welcomed President Kiir decision to return the country to ten states, the official says there will be additional sanctions on senior South Sudanese leaders in case things fall apart in the unity government.

“Well, I’ve told everybody we reserve the right to use all our diplomatic tools, including more sanctions, if necessary,” the diplomat continued. “We have the same authorities in place, and I’ve made sure that’s clear.”

The state department official also says some export controls on U.S. companies that would be dealing with the petroleum and mining industry will remain in place.

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