26th February 2020
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US diplomat concerned by lobbying deal

Author: Rosemary Wilfred | Published: 10 months ago

The White House, Washington DC | Credit | TripSavvy

The US ambassador in Juba says he is concerned about a deal that requires an American lobbyist to smooth Juba-Washington DC relations.

Last week, a US based lobby group – Gainful Solutions Inc. said it was hired by the South Sudan government through the office of the President to improve its relations with the Trump administration both economically and politically.

The joint consultancy firm that is owned by Ambassador Michael Ranneberger and his partner Soheil Nazari are expected by the nature of their agreement to among other things, open a channel of communication between President Salva Kiir and President Donald Trump.

This is aimed at persuading the Trump administration to expand economic and political relations with South Sudan, supporting American private sector investment in the country’s oil, natural resources, energy and gas sector.

The lobby company is also obligated to persuade the Trump administration to reverse the current sanctions and further block potential sanctions as well as delay and ultimately block the establishment of the hybrid court stipulated in the peace agreement, among others.

Commenting on the matter, the US Ambassador to South Sudan, Thomas Hushek describes the arrangement as disturbing.

He says the hybrid court and other transitional justice mechanisms have been agreed upon by all the parties and that it is disappointing that the incumbent government is seeking to obstruct its establishment.

“This, to me, is very disturbing because this is a commitment made in the peace agreement. The hybrid court is part and parcel of chapter five of the peace agreement,” Amb. Hushek told reporters in Juba on Monday.

“…I was very disappointed to see ….the government is actually hiring a lobbyist to try to block that part of the agreement.

The ties between J1 and Whitehouse have not been smooth for quite sometimes now.

Last year, Trump’s administration expressed displeasure with the government in South Sudan.

In a strongly worded statement, the White House said the leaders of South Sudan had “squandered this partnership [with the United States], pilfered the wealth of South Sudan, killed their own people, and repeatedly demonstrated their inability and unwillingness to live up to their commitments to end the country’s civil war. The result is one of Africa’s worst humanitarian disasters.”

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