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U.S. aims for continuous sanctions if peace process drags

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Wednesday, December 18, 2019

File: US Ambassador Thomas Hushek addresses the press at the American Embassy in Juba on Dec 18, 2019 | Credit | Jale Richard/Eye Radio

The United States will continue to impose sanctions on individual leaders of South Sudan if they do not implement the revitalized peace agreement as planned.

This comes after two cabinet ministers were sanctioned on Monday, adding to a list of already sanctioned senior government officials, opposition figures and individuals.

Minister of Defense Kuol Manyang Juuk, and Cabinet Affairs Minister Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro were sanctioned for what the US obstruction of reconciliation efforts in South Sudan.”

The country’s leaders are struggling to implement the revitalized peace agreement which was signed in September 2018. Formation of a planned unity government has already been postponed twice over slow implementation of pre-transitional arrangements.

Last month, President Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Machar, extended the pre-transitional period till February 22  to allow for the full implementation of critical security arrangements, and determine the number and boundaries of the States that have formed a deadlock for formation of the coalition government.

In November, the US government said it was disappointed in the failure of the two leaders to form a unity government on the agreed deadline of November 12.

Consequently, the Trump administration called back its ambassador for consultations as part of reassessing its relations with the government of South Sudan following slow progress of the peace process.

However on Tuesday, President Kiir and Dr. Machar said reiterated that they have agreed to form a transitional unity government in February despite unaccomplished pre-transitional tasks.

But according to the US Ambassador to South Sudan, unilateral efforts administration to push South Sudanese leaders to implement the revitalized peace agreement will continue through individual and bilateral sanctions.

“I don’t see us removing the sanctions we have done and we will continue to use… sanction is one of the tools we have and any government has the ability to do something like this so this is one of the tools we will continue to have in our tool box and we will use them,” Ambassador Hushek said in a press conference on Wednesday.

“There are sanctions that are UN sanctions though, those are the obligations of all UN members. Those include arms embargo, so all UN members have an obligation to implement the arms embargo and follow it completely.”

The US envoy hopes the leaders of South Sudan will implement the revitalized peace agreement for all efforts to be geared towards supporting reforms.

“We also look for other tools we are talking about but sanctions will be part of it. You know if the future of the unity government comes in and it’s a more inclusive government, the dialogue is going to be completely different, the narrative will be about how to support those reforms.”

The unilateral sanctions imposed by the US government are political and economic decisions against threats to peace and security in South Sudan.

These decisions include the temporary imposition on a target of restrictions that are lifted when the motivating security concerns no longer apply, or when no new threats have arisen.

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