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South Sudan downplays lack of direct communication with US


July 30, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudan has downplayed the significance of the lack of direct communication between president Salva Kiir and his US counterpart, Barack Obama, saying the latter should be more concerned over the situation due to his country’s heavy involvement in world affairs.

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US president Barack Obama meets with South Sudanese president Salva Kiir Mayardit in New York on 21 September 2011 (Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The last time the two leaders spoke was in 2011.

“Yes, it has been long time … but I think it is the president of United States who should be more concerned because it is America which is more concerned with the world affairs,” presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny told Sudan Tribune on Monday.

He was reacting to reports that president Kiir had complained that Obama had stopped calling him amid growing diplomatic tensions between Juba and Washington.

Kiir was quoted earlier this month during a visit to the capital of Western Bahr el Ghazal, Wau, questioning why Obama had failed to call him even at the height of the current conflict, which erupted in mid-December last year.

“I know my brother Obama is very busy with world affairs and I know how difficult it is to wear several hats at [the same] time but sometimes he manages to call others. He used to do that before but this has stopped. I don’t know [if] it is the level of his engagement with the world affairs that has preoccupied him,” Kiir was quoted as saying.

The president reportedly made the remark at a meeting with Bahr el Ghazal elders in Wau, during which he revealed the United States and other countries had cut financial support to the country’s security forces and withdrawn funding to several development projects, including construction of the Rajaf police academy.

“The friends that we know have stopped supporting us, even the United States, which used to provide support in capacity building such as governance, health, infrastructure and the security sector and also education has stopped,” Kiir told elders at the time.

Government troops loyal to Kiir and rebel forces aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar have been engaged in armed conflict since a political split in the ruling SPLM sparked violence across the country.

Kiir said the “senseless” war had also affected oil production, telling elders to tighten their belts until the conflict was resolved.

According to Ateny, talks between the two heads of state in the past had typically focused on bilateral issues and other matters of mutual interest.

It is unclear what caused the stoppage in direct communications between the two presidents, although independent observers say it is an indication of the level of frustration felt by Western governments with the Juba administration’s inability to curb the country’s ongoing conflict.


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  • 30 July 2014 22:13, by Rommel

    If Sudan Tribune isn’t misquoting officials [as per usual] and if this is indeed true, then this is absolutely pathetic. I couldn’t imagine Dr. John Garang complaining of neglect from the United States as though he were an entirely dependent, hapless child.

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    • 30 July 2014 23:47, by Ito

      Salva should not talk like a child. What do you expect normal and intelligent people to do if they see you running the country like your personal property; they would cut communication and distance themselves from you to avoid getting dirt from you. Unless you come to light by exiting the country voluntarily, there will be no communication with wise people. Foolish with wise don’t mixed ya kelip.

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      • 31 July 2014 06:15, by Mi diit

        A bunch of incompetent immatures complaining and struggling to figure out why the communication stopped. Visionless Kiir, call Obama and see if he will pick up the phone. It is you who needs his assistance and advice, not the other way around.

        Poor Rommel, we have a living visionary leader, Dr. Riek Machar Teny. Stop depending on dead leaders, move forward and stop your tribal jealousy.

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        • 31 July 2014 06:24, by Mi diit


          Yesterday I ignored your tribal arguments when you were bragging of all Dinkas not joining Kiir’s war against Nuers, otherwise the military situation should have changed.

          You forgot that all Nuers have not joined Riek Machar too.

          You also forgot that foreign UPDF with all their air, ground powers, JEM, SPLA-N, all 64 tribes in the army, etc are fighting for you too against half Nuers.

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          • 31 July 2014 07:04, by Mi diit

            A counter question to your nonsensical tribal arrogance is; what if all foreign mercenaries such as UPDF, JEM, SPLA-N, etc withdraw, all members of 64 tribes leave Dinkas alone in the army and all Nuers join Riek Machar?

            What do you think would happen? Can you predict that?

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            • 31 July 2014 16:53, by Rommel

              Mi diit:

              You didn’t ’ignore’ me... you simply couldn’t confront me. Were the Ugandans present when we routed you from our lands? Riek’s forces experienced defeat after being pursued, hounded and cut down as far as Uror, Akobo, Nyirol, Yuai and Ayod. Were JEM fighters present!? Were the other tribes in South Sudan helping us!? Remember, you had the Equatorian defence force with you...

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              • 31 July 2014 17:08, by Rommel

                .. You had Khartoum as your ally. The Baggara tribes in the form of the PDF and Murahaleen, devastated the Dinka tribe. The Equatorians joined your myopic surrender to Khartoum. The Murle [like you] worked for Khartoum. The vast majority of the Shilluk joined your rebellion. The Muslim ’Fertit’ tribes in Western Bahr el Ghazal worked in tandem with Khartoum against us... and you still lost.

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                • 31 July 2014 17:23, by Rommel

                  Salva Kiir is your greatest ally. You really should be thanking him. He allowed you [Khartoum’s oilfield guard-dogs] to return in the tens of thousands, to the obscene extent that you became the majority in an army that you fought against for well over a decade.

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                  • 31 July 2014 17:25, by Rommel

                    The people who actually fought the war against Khartoum -not you- largely went home in 2006, and on the one (1) year anniversary of this evanescent peace they graciously permitted the return of Khartoum’s wretched weasels, snakes and dogs. Snakes and dogs that quite unfortunately became the majority in our armed forces in 2006, even though they were Khartoum’s witless lackeys during the war.

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                    • 31 July 2014 17:28, by Rommel

                      The people who actually fought the war against Khartoum largely went home in 2006 -> the same year that Matip came back with around 50, 000 troops. Salva’s incompetence and short-sightedness is to blame for necessitating the need for the Ugandans in this conflict.

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                      • 31 July 2014 17:30, by Rommel

                        The Ugandans really should withdraw. We don’t need their obscenely expensive troops on the ground. Salva Kiir should resign and military command should bring back the veterans that fought Khartoum and Riek during the civil war. We didn’t need the Ugandans before and we really do not need them now. We just need Salva Kiir to resign.

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                        • 31 July 2014 17:43, by Rommel

                          Why would anyone be ’jealous’ of Riek!? The man is an absolute idiot. He was ’cheated’, his words not mine. He was played like a banjo. Oh yes, I’m ’jealous’ of Riek... the same way that I would be ’jealous’ of a donkey. You illustrate for us the fallacy of spamming patently foolish arguments and imagining that anyone might be persuaded into something, other than how incredibly stupid you are.

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                          • 31 July 2014 17:46, by Rommel

                            When will you finally understand that no one could possibly be ’jealous’ of a man that was played like an absolute fool by Khartoum for years on end? You *worship* the man and so you assume that everybody else is an awe of him and should treat him with the same dispensation. That idiot Riek cannot be compared with Dr. John Garang.

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          • 31 July 2014 07:16, by michael coma


            When will you stop writing idiotic things here?Those who are fighting each other in South Sudan are all brothers, from govt side and rebels.What i had noticed from you is that,since December last year you have no salary from Machar again that why you barks fartily.

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            • 31 July 2014 08:10, by Mi diit

              Michael coma,

              It is good that you now begin to learn the hard way and accept that we are brothers and sisters. But read my comments well and understand what I was responding to before typing irrelevance.

              And for your information, I am a self-employed successful business person here in Washington DC. I have not been getting any salary from any one.

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              • 31 July 2014 09:00, by michael coma


                You have role in the current crisis before it happened.The war between Dinka and Nuer was your new devil song for Ngundeng’s fake prophesies.Now your fake prophet saying had rotten in your mouths.

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        • 31 July 2014 16:31, by Hardlinner

          Mi diit, riek can only be visionary leader in nuer contact. But serious mi diit are you really sane in your mind?.There is nowhere in logical world would a killer/war monger be named a visionary leader. Look at suffering that riek have put nuer into in upper nile, jonglei and unity state. Riek is animal with human body. In fact riek is primate in transition.

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      • 1 August 2014 22:51, by Mr Point

        Remember Heglig.

        President Obama lost all trust in President Kiir because Salva lied about troop deployments towards Heglig in 2012.

        Kiir’s diplomacy has been a catastrophe for South Sudan.

        How many states came for Independence Day? 100.
        How many states came for the 3rd anniversary? Uganda alone.

        Failed President. Failed State.

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  • 31 July 2014 00:38, by Akol Liai Mager

    Should he get his chance as President of South Sudan, Ustaz Pagan Amum will fix all foreign relationships’ problems including S Sudan-USA in just 21 days of his Presidency. Nurturing foreign relationships which is essential to protect regional and international interests of the nation. I think Ustaz Amum will prioritise his four top as; Security, Peace, Development & good external relationships.

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    • 31 July 2014 03:02, by what the hell

      How is pagan going to fix it. Why couldn’t he fix it before he was fired to hell with him and people called him ustaz amum went did he became a professors this ugh ass like monkey

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      • 31 July 2014 04:19, by Akol Liai Mager

        Simple answers: 1. Ustaz Amum has a political ability to fix all the mess not 100%, but he will appropriately address 90% of those problems. 2. Ustaz Amum could not do that because (I) he was not holding any decision-making position and being an SG for SPLM did not mean he was a state’s policies decider and (II) Jaang (Dinka) and Nuer discrimination and jealousy toward Amum.

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  • 31 July 2014 02:33, by wang

    Barack Obama and the United State have no different from that one in Juba leading by Mrs. Kiir M7….The USA should and would not allow a someone who had murdered a quarter of millions innocents people to their territory in first place, while they are call themselves as a democratic country….shame on you all Barack Obama and your administration..

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  • 31 July 2014 03:16, by tootke’bai-ngo


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  • 31 July 2014 04:24, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    Install freedom of speech, information, press and association plus fair competition for political positions through credible elections, then we can see international relationship in our doorway. But if we continue to nurse insecurity, promote nepotism, tribalism, corruption and terror on the elderly, children and women we can only expect that. Obama is a representative of free, democratic society.

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  • 31 July 2014 05:46, by Jungo Bell

    Someone with great mind do not involved himself to any one with less mind. This is the sign to tell that the age is begin to show in our government.

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  • 31 July 2014 16:46, by Hardlinner

    Kiir should stop talking like a bitch. We shouldn’t give a crab about america or their president. Forget begging others and intelligently use oil money to buy factories and jump start the economy. South does not need huge army that sucks 40% national budget. 20,000 soldiers with modern equipments can do better jobs than 200,000 plus soldiers. Israel fucks arabs through technology not numbers.

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