The Outgoing Norwegian Ambassador in South Sudan has urged the government to reconsider its decision to close its embassy in Olso.
Last month, the ministry of foreign affairs said administrative measures had already been taken to close South Sudan’s embassies in France, Norway, Ghana, Kuwait, and Italy, among others, due to financial constraints.
“Administrative measures have already been taken to close the embassies because of the crisis that we are in. We thought about trying to spend wisely and spend within our reach. We are paying these embassies from our resources,” Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Mawien Makol told DW.
But political commentator Dr. James Okuk earlier criticized the decision, saying it was not well studied given the support of some of these countries towards South Sudan.
He cited Norway that has always supported peace efforts in the country and is still one of the biggest donors addressing the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.
Norway said it has spent millions of dollars in its “long-term engagement for peace and development in South Sudan.”
In 2014, the country hosted a high-level conference in Oslo to raise more support for South Sudan.
The conference yielded more than $600 million in aid to South Sudan aimed at averting famine that threatened millions of people, a few months after the conflict erupted in Juba and across the country.
According to the Norwegian embassy in Juba, some of its roles include; eradicate extreme poverty, ensure good governance and respect for human rights for all, alleviate suffering and protect human dignity in humanitarian crises, and promote sustainable development and help to make countries independent of aid
In an exclusive interview with Eye Radio on Friday, Norway’s ambassador in Juba – Lars Andersen – said although he understands the importance of governments assessing “its presence in terms of diplomatic missions abroad and also the cost related to such missions,” he hopes the situation is temporary.
“Norway will continue to be a close friend of South Sudan and continue to support the people of South Sudan. but it will be difficult for South Sudan’s people to have their voice heard in Oslo if they don’t have their own embassy there,” said Ambassador Andersen.
He said South Sudan should proceed to re-establish diplomatic relations in Oslo in a different form, without totally closing out.
Ambassador Andersen submitted his credential to President Salva Kiir in September 2017, as the new Norwegian diplomatic head in South Sudan.
He replaced Ambassador, Gunnar Andreas Holm.
In recent months, Norway has provided funds for improving the education sector, strategic studies, preservation of South Sudan’s heritage and history, agriculture, small business owners, support to reJMEC, humanitarian affairs and disaster management, health, media, women and girls empowerment, among others.
Norway –a member of the Troika – has been present in Juba with a diplomatic post since 2006.
Analyst, Dr. Okuk said the move could create suspicion and further lead to international isolation of South Sudan as a country.
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