US sanctions two S. Sudan ministers for hindering peace process

WASHINGTON, The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two individuals pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13664 for expanding or extending the conflict in South Sudan including by obstructing the reconciliation process or peace talks.

The Treasury Department said in a statement on Monday it would not hesitate to target those who have perpetuated the conflict in South Sudan and would continue to apply pressure on the senior leadership of South Sudan to take concrete measures to bring peace and stability to the country. “The United States stands by the people of South Sudan who continue to suffer under this political instability that has led to thousands of deaths. The South Sudanese deserve leaders who are committed to laying the groundwork for a successful, peaceful political transition,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Justin Muzinich.

The designations of Minister of Cabinet Affairs Martin Elia Lomuro and Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs Kuol Manyang Juuk are intended to target senior leaders in South Sudan that have perpetuated the conflict for their own personal enrichment, leading to much suffering for the South Sudanese people. In September 2018, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar reached a revitalized peace agreement that called for the formation of a national unity government on May 12, 2019.

Government and opposition leaders have extended that deadline twice, most recently on November 7, 2019, and have twice failed to make any progress towards a unity government or adequate implementation of the peace agreement.

A little over 30 days into the extended pre-transition period, the United States has yet to see concrete steps by the GoSS to create the political and security conditions conducive to formation of a unity government and adequate implementation of the peace deal.

Minister of Cabinet Affairs Martin Elia Lomuro has been responsible for actively recruiting and organizing local militias to conduct attacks against opposition forces in South Sudan; and, Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs Kuol Manyang Juuk has failed to remove military forces from the battlefield as agreed, fomented violence with rival tribes, and oversaw the training of tribal militias to prepare for the possibility of renewed violence.

These ministers perpetuated the conflict to cement the political status quo, fueling South Sudan’s war economy.

US sanctions need not be permanent; sanctions are intended to bring about a positive change of behavior, the statement noted.

The removal of sanctions is available for persons designated under E.O. 13664 who take concrete and meaningful actions to form a unity government in line with the agreed-upon terms of the peace agreement, refuse to take part in human rights violations or abuse, speak out against abuses committed by both the government and opposition, and combat corruption in and related to South Sudan.

Source: Kuwait News Agency