South Sudan summons U.S diplomat over sanctions
South Sudan on Monday summoned a senior United States diplomat to protest the recent sanctions imposed on three former and current senior government officials.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bak Valentino Akol, said that they met with Michael Morrow, the Charge de Affaires at the U.S embassy in Juba, to explain the reasons behind the sanctions which he called unjust as members of the armed opposition were left out.
"A few moments ago we summoned Morrow to come and explain the reasons behind the recent sanctions imposed on three of our senior members of the government," Akol revealed, adding he presented the government's protest letter to the diplomat.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Sept. 6 imposed sanctions and travel ban that include asset freeze on the minister of information Micheal Makuei, South Sudan army (SPLA) deputy chief of staff Reuben Malak and former SPLA chief of staff Paul Malong.
"We felt this was unjust, unfair decision because it singled out only people from the government side while ignoring people from the armed opposition," he added.
Akol disclosed that they are very keen to strengthen bilateral cooperation with the U.S administration, despite the latter being the lead power calling for more sanctions on the war-torn country's leaders.
"We know that the U.S is the penholder at the UN Security Council and have been attempting several times in the past few years to impose sanctions and travel ban on our government," he said.
Akol also said that sanctions serve no purpose, and added they hope the U.S and members of international community will work to help the government implement the compromise peace agreement; ensure the national dialogue is successful including humanitarian support.
South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013 after political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Machar led to fighting that pitted mostly Dinka ethnic soldiers loyal to Kiir against Machar's Nuer ethnic group.
The 2015 peace agreement to end the violence was again violated in July 2016 when the rival factions resumed fighting in the capital forcing Machar to flee into exile.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions that have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.