News / Africa

South Sudan Reviewing Obama Order on Sanctions

President Barack Obama, shown here meeting with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in New York in Sept. 2011, has signed an executive order threatening sanctions on those who block peace talks or incite violence in South Sudan.
President Barack Obama, shown here meeting with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in New York in Sept. 2011, has signed an executive order threatening sanctions on those who block peace talks or incite violence in South Sudan.
Philip AleuAndrew Green
— South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his cabinet are reviewing the executive order signed by U.S. President Barack Obama that threatens U.S. sanctions against anyone who incites or commits violence in South Sudan, or blocks the peace process, a spokesman for Kiir said Friday.

"The... order that was signed by President [Obama] yesterday, we received it this morning and the President has briefed the Council of Ministers," presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told reporters at a hastily convened news conference.

"The Council of Ministers is studying the document and will... respond to the letter in question. But as of now, they are still studying the document,” he said.

President Obama signed an executive order Thursday, clearing the way for travel bans and the seizure of assets in the United States of any person or entity found by the U.S. authorities to have incited violence in South Sudan or to be impeding the country's slow-moving peace talks, which have been put on hold until the end of April.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a written statement that the executive order "sends a clear message: those who threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan, obstruct the peace process, target U.N. peacekeepers or are responsible for human rights abuses and atrocities will not have a friend in the United States and run the risk of sanctions."

The order applies to "both the Government of South Sudan and Riek Machar’s rebels," the statement said, calling on both sides to "immediately engage in and follow through on the inclusive peace process" that east African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has been mediating since January.
 
Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on March 19, 2014, at U.N. headquarters in New York.Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on March 19, 2014, at U.N. headquarters in New York.
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Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on March 19, 2014, at U.N. headquarters in New York.
Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on March 19, 2014, at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Samatha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said the executive order showed that the United States "firmly intends to hold accountable those bent on undermining a peaceful, political settlement of the crisis in South Sudan, and anyone who threatens the safety and well-being of civilians."

More than one million civilians have been forced by the fighting to flee their homes and nearly four million -- more than a third of the population -- are threatened by severe food insecurity and illness as the conflict stretches into a fourth month.

The fighting has gone on for more than 100 days and it is not known how many people have been killed but international aid and human rights officials have estimated the number of dead to be in the tens of thousands.

Obama order will 'further obstruct' peace process, minister says

South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei said the executive order will further obstruct the peace process for South Sudan, and denied that anyone in the government of South Sudan was impeding the IGAD-led peace talks in Addis Ababa.

He also questioned how U.S. authorities would determine who would be sanctioned. 

"I don’t know what are the criteria used by him (President Obama) to decide whether X or Y has committed human rights violations or abuses,” Makuei told VOA.
Those who threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan, obstruct the peace process, target U.N. peacekeepers or are responsible for human rights abuses and atrocities will not have a friend in the United States and run the risk of sanctions.


Zachariah Diing Akol, a director at the Juba-based Sudd Institute think tank, was doubtful that the threat of targeted sanctions would have the effect of pressuring the warring sides in South Sudan into stepping up their efforts to reach an inclusive peace deal.

Instead, he warned, average citizens could suffer.

"Usually, what happens as a result of sanctions is that the masses suffer more than the elites who are the targets," he told VOA, suggesting that a better way for the United States to help to restore peace in South Sudan would be to engage with the government and opposition "in a meaningful way... rather than threats here and threats there on the public air waves."

But many residents of Juba, where the unrest that is still rocking the young country began in mid-December, praised the U.S. action.

A youth leader in Juba said the threat of sanctions could be what is needed to force the government and opposition sides to take peace negotiations seriously.

"If they give sanctions for some individuals... we can give pressure to the government and the rebels to come to consensus,” said the youth leader, who asked not to be named.

“If the international community gives sanctions to some individuals, I think it will be good because the people of South Sudan have suffered for that conflict," he said.
It is a pressure, not something negative, to make people go quickly to peace and stability.


A first round of peace talks in January resulted in the signing of a cessation of hostilities pact and an agreement to expedite the release of 11 politicians who were detained when the unrest erupted in mid-December.

Fighting continues in parts of South Sudan, and four of the 11 politicians are still in detention.The four politicians are appearing in court hearings to determine if charges of treason can be brought against them for their part in what the government says was a coup attempt on December 15 that triggered the nationwide violence.

Edmund Yakani, the executive director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, said the way the government and opposition sides react to the threat of U.S. sanctions will show how dedicated they are to peace.

“If they are for us, they will pick up a dialogue with the U.S. administration on what do they prefer as the best way forward," he said.

"It is a pressure, not something negative, to make people go quickly to peace and stability. We are expecting a humanitarian disaster if this crisis continues,” he said.

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by: gatwech from: Seattle WA
April 09, 2014 4:18 PM
That is very good idea to do that hon Obama. This Dinka president is listening.


by: Ayom Mawien Arou from: warrap state
April 08, 2014 6:38 AM
The threat of sanctions against our government officials is nothing to us as it will not bring peace.This is the work of Hilde Johnson with her husband Riek. They did it unknowingly that Riek is part of the sanctions.
The best thing Hilde can do is; 1. to resign from her current position and 2. to tell her husband to abandon rebellion and go to Europe to enjoy himself with his wife Hilde in Norway.


by: Tiger Lueth from: Ss
April 05, 2014 10:33 AM
That's insane for president Obama to use a threat language of sanction as only way to reach peace,the rebel leader "the DUMB ASS"Riek Machar is being use by the US just so they can get rid of China.what have Riek did to the people of SS except for Killing them continuously,started from 8/30/1991 and again 12/15/2013,Obama should stays away from SS affair,instead he should find a solution to his people the "African American"who are still being enslave by the true American,didn't George Zimmerman an innocent child and got set free just like one who have kill a rabbit.how many people die in America in daily basis,beside that how many get arrested in a fault accusation?


by: Bol from: Bor
April 05, 2014 1:32 AM
The US of ole A, the biggest bully of weakest countries on Earth! A guy once told me that the US is like a schoolyard bully. A school bully often look out for weakest kid on the block to pick on.

The Schoolyard bully can even go as far as taking the weakest kids lunches if possible, but when toughest kid from another school is brought in and who doesn't like bullies, the schoolyard bully feel threaten and can even threaten the weakest kids, that if they alliance themselves to the new kid on block then he/she will find them somewhere and beat them hard.

That is exactly what the US is like. When it comes to countries like China that can bloody nosed the US very badly, the US treads with care, but when it comes to little countries like South Sudan who have a good working relationship with countries China, and are getting fed up with the US bullying and its outrageous hypocrisy, the US often shamelessly show how bully it is.

South Sudan was a close friend of the US, but the US messed up the South Sudanese people trusts by playing its usual game of taking other countries like they its 51st states. And when South Sudanese people say, okay hang on.

South Sudanese people are free thinking people, servility to other people or empires has never been in our people's DNA; it has never been and it will never be.

South Sudanese people took up arms against being under the Arab North Sudan for over fifty bitter years demanding their independence and they are not in anyway going to be micro-managed by some criminals in Washington through those laughable sanctions.

The US is behind this war against South Sudanese people and the same US thinks, that South Sudanese people do not the game the US is playing against South Sudanese people.

Back to my early analogy of schoolyard, bully. When the school bully eventually come face to face with the new boy that doesn't like bullies in a duel, even the little ones that are fed up with the schoolyard bully can even start kicking the schoolyard bully on the legs, knees or where ever area they can reach on the bully and the schoolyard bully is humiliated in front of everyone.

The US think that it is going to be a bully to other smaller countries for life, but it is deluding itself. The US doesn't even know why many countries in Africa nowadays prepare trading with China; that is because the African peoples are getting fed up with the US bullying and its outrageous hypocrisy.

The US can even go as far as issuing its laughable sanctions to every South Sudanese soul, but no amount of sanction will let South Sudanese forgive the US in its implicity in this war against the South Sudanese people.

The US and some European countries like the UK, France, Germany are still using their 19th century diplomatic manual against African peoples, they don't know that there are new African kids who are not fond of those age old Europeans and Americans intrigues.

If the US and want a fair deal with young and open minded African peoples, then they better re-check the their 19th century diplomatic manuals or else they will risk losing big on trades with Africans people.

China game of not interfering in the natives politics seem to working well with Africans and I do also think the US would not like it when Africans would want to tell Americans the gun laws or their gun violence.


by: Sam Dave from: USA
April 05, 2014 1:02 AM
I like Obama's ideologically about South Sudan. The leaders of South Sudan will not listen with out sanctions. Watch, the peace of South Sudan will come to an end. Otherwise, President Obama will change his mind. Please president Obama keep that sanctions to South Sudan for 10 years or so. Obviously, you right the way you handling that sanctions to South Sudan. May God bless you

In Response

by: akol from: juba
April 06, 2014 10:47 AM
Thanks obama for doing the start...if kirr and machar dont make peace, EU , UN and African Union Union sanctions . If they still impend peace it is only military option just like mali or Ivory Coast.

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