News / Africa

US Sanctions Don't Worry South Sudan Government, Rebels

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (L) and Secretary of State John Kerry will determine who in South Sudan will be subject to U.S. asset freezes and visa bans.Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (L) and Secretary of State John Kerry will determine who in South Sudan will be subject to U.S. asset freezes and visa bans.
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Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (L) and Secretary of State John Kerry will determine who in South Sudan will be subject to U.S. asset freezes and visa bans.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (L) and Secretary of State John Kerry will determine who in South Sudan will be subject to U.S. asset freezes and visa bans.
Philip AleuJohn Tanza
South Sudanese government officials and rebels said Tuesday in separate interviews that the threat of U.S. sanctions did not worry them because their side was neither blocking the peace process nor responsible for the violence that has consumed the country for nearly four months.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Mawien Makol Arik told VOA that the executive order signed late Thursday by U.S. President Barack Obama was unnecessary and could damage relations between Washington and Juba.

“The government has not violated any human rights. Instead, it is the government protecting civilians," he said.

"For the U.S. to put sanctions on things that have no tangible proof, we are saying as a government, this is not good. It will not be good for the two countries, the United States and South Sudan,” Arik said.

The executive order threatens to freeze the assets of and impose travel bans to the United States on anyone found to have committed or fomented violence in South Sudan, to have undermined peace and security in the country, or to have blocked the peace talks. Jack Lew, the Treasury Secretary, and Secretary of State John Kerry will determine who will have sanctions imposed on them.

Although the order names no one specifically, it does say that leaders of "an entity, including any government, rebel militia, or other group, that has, or whose members have engaged in" any of the blacklisted "activities" will face sanctions.

A spokesman for anti-government forces allied to former vice president Riek Machar said the U.S. threat of targeted sanctions would not impact anyone on the rebel side.

"We are not worried. We have not been obstructing the peace process," Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang told VOA in an interview by satellite phone from Addis Ababa, where talks to end South Sudan's four-month-old conflict have been put on hold until the end of this month. "It is the government that should be worried."
 
Negotiators at South Sudan peace talks in Addis Ababa review a draft cessation of hostilities agreement on Jan. 13, 2014.Negotiators at South Sudan peace talks in Addis Ababa review a draft cessation of hostilities agreement on Jan. 13, 2014.
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Negotiators at South Sudan peace talks in Addis Ababa review a draft cessation of hostilities agreement on Jan. 13, 2014.
Negotiators at South Sudan peace talks in Addis Ababa review a draft cessation of hostilities agreement on Jan. 13, 2014.



Ruai said the peace talks stalled because government negotiators refused to allow the freed political detainees to have a place at the negotiating table.

"The government keeps on changing the rule book whenever a solution is about to be found," he said.

Ruai also blamed government forces for violating the cessation of hostilities agreement by attacking rebel-held positions.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Arik said South Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin has been talking to officials at the U.S. embassy in Juba, trying to convince them to rescind the executive order or, at the very least, not to implement it.

Although no official death toll has been released, thousands are thought to have died in the fighting in South Sudan and more than a million have been forced from their homes.

Some 800,000 are believed to be internally displaced, with tens of thousands sheltering inside U.N. bases and compounds; approximately 250,000 have fled to to neighboring countries. U.N. agencies have warned that more than a third of South Sudan's population of nearly 11 million faces face severe food insecurity and, unless the fighting stops soon, the country will likely face "unprecedented suffering."

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by: jongracdit from: Roorcuolakol
April 12, 2014 6:49 AM
From Roorcuolakol, icomment on what Kwaje has said we are not here right now to blame on president Salva Kirr mayardit as you can see from the past,especially on August, 30 1991.he plan the same coup living thousand of people dead in Bor. and he also did the same thing Juba here,he plan this before he was still the vice president south sudan that is why he was remove from vice, he also used public funds to trian his white army. Riek is not a new rebel in south sudan. Can you imagine in 2000, Riek unceremonioualy left Kartoum and rejoined the man he a ccused autocra y in2002. Ican see now there is no probe for former and newly rebel of south sudan to tell people that there is peace in his country when he didn't know how to make peace. he was alway blaming goverment before he was vice, and he was the goverment himself. My advice to leaders of south sudan is when you are removed from power don't pick your weapon and fight the government. this is the mean causes of problem in south sudan. I wanted you to live those who pasticiapte in struggling of newly nation. so please mr rebel watchout your action against civillian don't intensified by accusing government you are the mean problem. that is why there is no peace in our country. and you didn't make past peace of 1991.

by: Kwaje Hillary from: Juba
April 10, 2014 2:49 PM
The fighting started from the government side so it meant there is poor government. US should give sanctions to all the corrupt and dictator official of south Sudan. We citizens are tired of war. Please bring peace as soon as possible.

by: kuer ajang from: caribbean jamaica
April 10, 2014 8:07 AM
the war in south sudan is not that simple.the only solution if you world top powers take serious notice in south sudan.but according to me mr president is gulity kiir has no exprence on leading people.honestly kiir has achieved only two prostitution and local brewing of alcohol in all nine years which great shame and again killing of innocent children and women which Garreng can not do

by: Robert Otik from: Juba
April 10, 2014 5:03 AM
President Kibaki said it all, if we as South Sudanese supported by IGAD, were able to stop the 21 years war and signed a peace deal with Khartoum, why should it be difficult to find a solution to the current stalemate. We made peace with the Arabs, we are now neighbours and visit each other; why should we not be able to resolve our problems as brothers AND I MEAN IT, as "BROTHERS"? FOR ME THE WAY FORWARD is 1) to negotiate with OUR SUFFERING PEOPLE IN MIND and 2) either side TO MAKE CONCESSIONS, so that we reach a negotiated settlement and 3) IGAD and the International community to use CARROT and STICK method to find a lasting solution to this problem. Best wishes for the Addis Ababa talks.

by: Deng Santino Mayot from: Kampala-Uganda
April 10, 2014 5:02 AM
The proposed USA sanction is a big joke and hypocritical as well. USA has been meddling in this conflict since its inception without taking any clear stance. It has never condemned the coup though it was proved beyond a reasonable doubt that it was planned. There are rumours that the UNMISS is also supporting the rebels and the prove was a truck loaded with ammunition and wrongly labelled that it was carrying food items and was destined to rebel base. who is to blame for all this if the so called super power does not condemn it. Justice delayed is justice denied so let USA keep their sanctions for the blind not for South Sudan because eventually we shall overcome whatever is retarding us. Pple of South Sudan let us defy the odds and unite for the common good because we are bigger than mere tribes and political affiliations. Whether Nuer, Dinka or any other tribe, what unites us is more electrostatic than what repulse us. Long live South Sudan

by: David from: Nebraska U.S
April 09, 2014 11:50 PM
Guess what if you don't like Obama or America decision, you are fooling yourself as the leaders in S.Sudan are. Think about the poor people who are living in the rain with no food and clothes to wear. You mine as well join Salva Kill. I don't see any reason why you still live in this when you don't peace. Hopefully your extraordinary empty skull will rethink again when you really understand what kind of full leadership is being operated in young country. America is the only country in the world that free people and understand how to run politic. Get your Greediness out of way we thinking peace and better life for all not for your stupid cruelty leaders. Sorry for words but any one who support death and inhuman treatment deserve to be redirected.

by: Deng Tut from: Washington DC
April 09, 2014 1:13 PM
Obama's decision is a joking game to our government and rebel side too because American are always start killing people always starting war and claim to be best people. American make people sick for poorest decision they do make. Our country will move forward without them.

by: Stephen Tiepple from: UK
April 09, 2014 7:11 AM
"Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Mawien Makol Arik told VOA that the executive order signed late Thursday by U.S. President Barack Obama was unnecessary and could damage relations between Washington and Juba.

“The government has not violated any human rights. Instead, it is the government protecting civilians," he said".

Did any reporter think to ask him a question about the government's role in the massacre of over 300 Nuer civilians in Juba on December 15 by the President's Gulweng militia? It was this single action that started the war when Nuer generals, who had lost family members, defected.

by: Joseph Dhal kur from: Kenya
April 09, 2014 2:20 AM
i conglulate president Kiir and reble leader machar for their acceptanced of peace process,but one thing i can tell both side is that not to repeat against.God bless RSS and they pples of God in they country of south sudan.
Also to they youths and womens from Nuer communicaty tels us united for common goals of our new nation south sudan.
In Response

by: Yoal Puok from: South Sudan
April 09, 2014 10:22 AM
Dearly pple of South Sudan,how comes the East African countries involves themselves into our problem and fueling it by supplies the tribal leader Kiir?while lying the world body that to help.

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