News / Africa

US Ambassador Tells South Sudan to Open Up to Other Political Parties

US Ambassador Tells South Sudan to Open Up to Other Political Parties
US Ambassador Tells South Sudan to Open Up to Other Political Parties
John Tanza

The United States first ambassador to South Sudan said the world's newest country needs to open up the democratic space to allow other political parties to take part in the nation building process.

Ambassador Susan Page arrived in Juba earlier this month. She was nominated to become ambassador by President Barrack Obama in August and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in October.

In a recent interview with VOA, just prior to her leaving for South Sudan, Ambassador Page acknowledged that the problems facing Juba are not unique to the people of South Sudan and she expressed confidence that the South Sudanese people will work hard to overcome the numerous challenges facing them.

And she said the country has the goodwill of the international community. ''I feel as if this is not a completely new place, but they are starting off with a bonus of being a new country with a lot of goodwill, but a lot of challenges ahead of them,"  she added.

Outstanding post-independent issues

Page's posting to South Sudan comes at a difficult time in relations between Juba and Khartoum.  The two nations have been unable to resolve many outstanding post-independence issues, including oil revenue sharing.  Sudan has threatened to halt South Sudan's oil exports in a disagreement over transit fees, and Khartoum confiscated shipments to make up for payments it claims South Sudan owes.

When South Sudan separated from the north earlier this year, it inherited most of the once unified nation's oil fields.  But, South Sudan is landlocked and all of its oil flows through Sudan's pipeline to reach international markets.

Recent talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia aimed at resolving these issues did not bridge the gap and new talks are scheduled for later in December.

Ambassador Page admitted that the two ruling parties, Sudan’s National Congress Party and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in South Sudan, must work together to resolve post independent issues.  She said she would work to encourage the two parties to continue negotiations.

Good governance, corruption and rule of law

Business opportunities have boomed and investors have flocked to South Sudan, beginning with the 2005 peace agreement, which ended the more than two-decade civil war, and the declaration of independence in early July.

Page warned that Juba needs to create a stable environment to encourage investment. ''I feel as if South Sudan is open for business, and if they can make the country appealing to investors, if they can get corruption under control, open the country to other political parties, the country  can  become a really first century country with opportunities of  development for its people," she said

The new envoy also urged the government in Juba to open up the democratic space to allow other political parties to openly express their views.  She said her priority would be to work with civil society and human rights groups, as well as the United Nations Mission in South Sudan to push the government in Juba on the issues of good governance and corruption. ''Corruption is a problem, they have acknowledged it, they have asked for our assistance and we have several advisors working with them,'' she explained.

She further urged Juba to make some progress on reviewing the new the interim constitution by including other political parties and the opposition. The U.S. diplomat added that her country would work with Juba to ensure that its leaders maintain civilian control of the army and institutions of national intelligence. She warned that the time would come when the people of South Sudan will vote out leaders who are not serving their people.

U.S. opens up South Sudan oil sector

Khartoum has been under U.S. sanctions since 1997, but these sanctions could prove harmful to South Sudan, which is landlocked so that its oil can only reach international markets through Sudanese pipelines, which Page acknowledged.

The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced in December that it was lifting economic sanctions that had prohibited Americans from dealings with the petroleum and petrochemical sector in the Republic of South Sudan.

These sanctions were in place largely because of the benefit the Government of Sudan receives because crude from South Sudan makes it to market at Port Sudan via pipelines through Sudan, and the Government of Sudan receives some benefit from this process.

The new regulation explicitly allows American participation in downstream activities, including the refining, sale and transport of petroleum from South Sudan, so long as the petroleum in not refined in Sudan.

The new regulations will make it significantly easier for U.S. citizens and companies to invest in all sectors of the South Sudanese economy.

Ambassador Page expressed confidence in the current negotiations, facilitated by the African Union High Level Implementation Panel, which is led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, to address the oil related economic problem between the two countries.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitcheni
X
September 22, 2014 11:42 AM
With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid