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S. Sudan says U.S official’s remarks ploy to regime change

January 25, 2018 (JUBA) – A South Sudanese official has criticized a senior United States diplomat over remarks in which President Salva Kiir was described an “unfit” partner in the ongoing peace process.

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US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (L) looks on as she meets President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir at The President Office in Juba on October 25, 2017 (AFP)

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations reportedly made the remarks while addressing the Security Council Wednesday.

“These are such unfortunate remarks but as the government, we will ask for clarification on how the ambassador came to make conclusion that the government is unfit partner for peace”, Tut Kew Gatluak, the presidential advisor on security affairs told Sudan Tribune, without saying how such a clarification would be sought.
Such statements, he said, are motivated by a regime change ploy.

“The message of the government is to help us work together to end this situation. The government is doing the best to improve the situation and move away from regime change, which is what the anti-peace elements are pursuing. This is not what people want”, he added.

Haley said Washington is “disappointed” by the performances and actions of South Sudan government under President Kiir after supporting the independence in 2011 and investing over $11 billion.

Ambassador Haley said the Juba government, despite the efforts by the international community to end the war and restore stability and peace, remains “an unfit partner” for peace process in the country.

“The government of South Sudan is increasingly proving itself to be an unfit partner for this Council and any country seeking peace and security for the people of South Sudan,” she told the Security Council, citing reports of the ceasefire monitors holding government forces responsible for violations, despite a cessation of hostilities deal.

“Not surprisingly, more fighting followed. Opposition forces are also responsible for the fighting. Forces under Riek Machar’s command spearheaded an attack in which at least 15 civilians were killed. And on January 4, forces loyal to a former South Sudan army chief orchestrated an attack on a government checkpoint,” said the US diplomat.

The top US diplomat also expressed disappointment with the promotion of three South Sudanese army generals sanctioned by the United Nations in 2015, describing the move “a slap in the face” of the Security Council, and the nations that supported Kiir’s regime, and “of basic decency.”

“These are men who led the slaughter of innocent South Sudanese children, women, and old men. Hundreds of victims reportedly were buried in mass graves. And the Government of South Sudan decided to promote their killers,” said Haley.

According to Haley, attempts to ease the suffering of the people of South Sudan are currently not working and the international community was failing to address the situation by failing to come together and make a unified decision and course of action to end the conflict in the country with urgency.

"And what’s worse, we’re failing, not despite the leadership of South Sudan, but because of it.” The time has come to acknowledge the hard reality that the leaders of South Sudan are not just failing their people, they are betraying them,” said Haley.

The US official pushed for an arm embargo to be imposed on South Sudan.
“We must change course. It’s long past time that the Security Council establishes an arms embargo on South Sudan. Rather than continue to hold endless meetings on a crisis that only becomes worse each month, I urge my fellow Council members to support an arms embargo,” she said.

She pointed out that an arms embargo would help the people of South Sudan to slow the violence, slow the flow of arms and ammunition, and protect innocent lives.

The US ambassador considers the revitalization process of the 2015 peace agreement as an opportunity to find the political will to compromise on longer-term security and governance arrangements that meet the needs of South Sudan’s people.

Haley is one of the first high-ranking officials in the Donald Trump administration who visited war-torn South Sudan in October last year.