December 2, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan on Sunday downplayed increased growing public criticism against reports saying that the new nation, through its permanent representative to the United Nations had casted a vote supporting a bid by Palestine authority to be granted an observatory status at the United Nations.
The resolution was approved by 138 member states including South Sudan but nine other countries including the United States of America and Israel among others opposed. 41 abstained. Media reports show that United States immediately criticized the vote, describing it as "unfortunate and counterproductive resolution which it said places further obstacles in the path peace".
In Juba, authorities made no comments despite repeated attempts by various media groups including Sudan Tribune to reach out for reactions to “rapidly growing the public criticism against the vote”. But a senior official at the ministry of foreign Affairs and international Cooperation "cautiously" and said in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Sunday that the new nation was not alone.
“Why you people in the media don’t always give us a break? Such decisions are always taken for reasons beneficial to the people of South Sudan. You may not see them right away but there are times when such decisions get rewards diplomatically”, an ambassador at foreign relations department said.
He cited challenges facing his country which requires support from different countries including friends and Palestine allies in the Arab world countries as some of the reasons which prompted helping vote.
"I must tell you that we were not alone. Some countries including permanent member state of the Security Council vote to upgrade status of the Palestine. France voted in support so why our vote has becomes an issue? Our people are quick to criticize instead of understanding cause of the decision”, the official adds, in his statements to Sudan Tribune at Paradise Hotel in Juba on Sunday.
Sudanese permanent representative to the United Nations, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman who chairs the Arab group at the international organisation, on 29 November introduced a draft resolution to the General Assembly on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
The draft resolution, entitled "Status of Palestine in the United Nations," was co-sponsored by 59 countries, including China, Algeria, Brazil, Cuba, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, South Africa, Tajikistan, and Zimbabwe.
The draft resolution "reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967."
The General Assembly "decides to accord to Palestine non-member observer State status in the United Nations, without prejudice to the acquired rights, privileges and role of the Palestinian people, " the draft resolution said.
several South Sudanese activists consider that the vote comes in support of the Arab countries who supported Sudan in its war against the struggle of South Sudanese for an independent country, stressing that Israel was supportive to their cause.
Moses Achol Marial, a civil right activist from Lakes State wondered why his country did not use the UN charter clause which respects abstaining from controversial voting instead of approval.
"I wish our permanent representative to the United Nations should consulted public opinion before voting because such decisions would have negative diplomatic relation with Israel or her allies. The ramification from the backlash could really outweigh benefits", Marial said on Sunday.
Steve Paterno, a South Sudanese living in the United States also supported abstaining from the vote. "A new nation, which is yet to be recognized by all independent nations on planet earth, must be shooting itself on the foot if it comes out to denounce the existence of Palestine. However, I believe the best vote in this catch 22 scenario would have been abstention than voting either way," said he in an e-mail statement on Saturday.
Mawien Deng Kuc, a native of Warrap State in Juba said on Sunday the decision was a “mistake” which must not be allowed to pass without “condemnation” because such decision would define future relations with Israel.
He further stated the decision was a contradiction South stance in establishing its embassy in Jerusalem, Israel. “We are witnessing the erosion of South Sudan as a nation upon which not to rely on”.