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U.S denies deploying personnel to effect regime change in Juba

Author: Koang Pal | Published: Friday, May 31, 2019

Ambassador Alexander M. Laskaris serves as the Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Engagement, United States Africa Command. PHOTO: United States Africa Command

An American diplomat has described as exaggeration a recent media report that the United States is seeking regime change in South Sudan.

On 17th May 2019, the Juba-based Dawn newspaper published a story titled – “The US Deploys military in Juba as regime change plans underway.”

A regime change entails both open and covert actions by domestic or foreign agents aimed at altering, replacing, or preserving a government.

The Dawn paper alleges that the U.S has sent more than “50 military personnel into South Sudan with the aim of destabilizing East Africa.”

It further claimed the United States was in contact with Thomas Cirillo of the National Salvation Front to reject the revitalized peace agreement.

However, the Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Engagement at the United States Africa Command, Ambassador Alexander Laskaris says the report is misleading and inaccurate. He said Washington D.C only deploys soldiers in any country to protect its own citizens, and not engage in protracted missions.

“There are voices in civil society and media who may not understand this deployment or who may have a reason to exaggerate or distort it, but no. Those deployments to which you are referring are all about protecting the lives of U.S. citizens, around the globe and particularly, in our case, in Africa,” the Ambassador said.

Ambassador Laskaris added that any mission to South Sudan or any other country is done with the full knowledge and approval of the government.

“We seek their permission to land in their airports. We seek their permission to deploy our soldiers, and at every step of the way, we explain exactly what it is we are doing and what we are not doing. And most of the governments, including the government of South Sudan, are cooperative on this,” Ambassador Laskaris stated.

The report said about 100 U.S military personnel will be “arriving South Sudan in a span of three months” including British soldiers.

Although the report alleges that the U.S has also recently recruited Americans into the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, and the UN mission, Ambassador Laskaris denied such deployments have been made.

“Right now we don’t have deployments into South Sudan. The last time there was major unrest, insurrection, in Juba, in July of 2016, in response to the potential need to assist U.S. citizens in distress, we pre-deployed some assets to the region. We’ve done that before, we’ll do it again,” he added.

Ambassador Alexander Laskaris was speaking yesterday during Africa Regional Media Hub – telephonic press briefing from Germany.

AUDIO: Listen to an extract: Ambassador Alexander Laskaris -U.S Deputy Commander for Civil-Military Engagement

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