An international lobbyist group has confirmed to Eye Radio that the Kiir administration did hire it to smooth relations with the United States.
Gainful Solutions, a U.S-based lobbyist for both Private Sector and Foreign Governments, has been given a three-year contract to persuade Donald Trump and the American investors to consider restoring relations and businesses in South Sudan.
This is according to former US Ambassador to Kenya and longtime diplomat, Ambassador Michael Ranneberger, managing partner of Gainful Solutions.
In 2016, the US imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on six officials from both the government and the opposition.
It said the individuals may have contributed actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan.
It warned American companies, or those using American products against dealing with South Sudan.
The U.S also pushed the UN Security Council and convinced the European Union to impose arms embargo on South Sudan.
This contract signed by President Salva Kiir means Ambassador Ranneberger and his team will help South Sudan navigate the American political and regulatory systems, and provide strategies and advice on how to engage effectively with the Trump administration.
The 3.7 million-dollar deal has been criticized by policy experts who say part of the contract includes convincing the US to support the government in blocking the establishment of the hybrid court in South Sudan.
The hybrid court is part of the peace agreement signed by all the parties in South Sudan to try those who have been accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 5-year conflict.
Amnesty International said by accepting this deal, Ambassador Ranneberger and his team are promoting injustice, and lack of accountability for people executed, abducted and those raped by the government and opposition forces since 2013.
In an exclusive interview with Eye Radio yesterday, Ambassador Ranneberger admitted that the first draft of the contract that was brought to the attention of the public had the provision to stop or block the formation of the hybrid court.
“There was a bit of a mix up with the first draft of the contract and it got published, but you can look at our contract on the website –which the President [Kiir] has approved, and it says nothing about the hybrid court,” Ranneberger said Thursday.
He, however, confirmed that part of the campaign will include convincing US to ease sanctions on South Sudanese leaders.
“Sanctions are very complex and difficult subject, but obviously as relations improve between the US and South Sudan, that will have an impact on sanctions.”
Gainful Solutions says it uses a combined experience in international diplomacy and global business operations to lobby on behalf of their clients.
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