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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
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.
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.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid