News / Africa

South Sudan President Kiir in Washington for US-Africa Leaders Summit

Days after he said the West
Days after he said the West "covets" South Sudan's natural resources, President Salva Kiir is due to head to Washington for the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders summit.
Karin ZeitvogelJohn Tanza

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and scores of other African leaders are in the U.S. capital for the first-ever U.S.-Africa leaders summit that begins Monday.

But just days before he was due to travel to Washington for the summit, Mr Kiir made some scathing remarks about the West, accusing countries that are seen as having played essential roles in South Sudan’s birth in 2011 – including the United States – of seeking to grab the young country’s oil.

“When they went into Iraq, what happened? And when they went into Libya, what happened? Now, Syria is going down in flames. We need to sit and have a dialogue instead of using force,” Mr Kiir said in the speech on Wednesday to commemorate the millions who died fighting for South Sudan’s independence.

Then, the president of South Sudan said, “What they covet is our resources, it’s this rich land of ours.”

South Sudan’s key, and at this point only, resource is oil. Almost all government revenues come from oil.

But South Sudanese oil production has been hard hit by more than seven months of fighting in the country, which has been concentrated in the two oil-producing states, Unity and Upper Niles, as well as Jonglei state, in between them.

What they covet is our resources, it’s this rich land of ours.

Luke Patey, a senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies and author of “The New Kings of Crude,” which is about South Sudan’s oil, said Mr. Kiir’s accusations were wrong-footed.

Even at the pre-conflict production level of around 300,000 barrels per day, South Sudan’s oil production is only a drop in the global oil bucket -- 0.3 percent of worldwide production, Patey told South Sudan in Focus.

“This isn’t an Iraq, this isn’t Saudi Arabia. This is really a small player in the international oil industry, and at the moment there are no U.S. interests in that oil,” Patey said.

Awan Guol, a Minister in the Office of the President, said Mr. Kiir's anti-Western statement were a slip of the tongue.

"The government is being pushed to the wall, and things slide out. It may bring some consequences that nobody likes," he said.

But a country's natural resources, Guol added, are part of the "internal affairs of a country" and "must be respected."

This isn’t an Iraq, this isn’t Saudi Arabia. This is really a small player in the international oil industry.

South Sudan has been looking to diversify its economy away from oil by exploiting its reserves of gold, but the foreign investors required to do that have held off because of the conflict. 

Western input could stabilize oil decline

Instead of attacking Western companies and questioning their intentions in South Sudan, Mr Kiir should be wooing them, Patey said.

“American and European firms, particularly specialized oil service companies, can actually help to stabilize South Sudan’s decline in production,” he said.

Mr. Kiir’s condemnation of alleged outside interference in South Sudan’s affairs, and his accusation that the West is after South Sudan’s resources could be an attempt to shift the focus away from the dire situation on the ground in South Sudan, Patey said.  

“It may be a sign of an increasingly desperate president who’s looking for scapegoats to explain the chaos and destruction that he and rebel leader Riek Machar have unleashed on the people of South Sudan,” he said.

“Let’s hope with upcoming peace talks -- if they occur -- and with the U.S.-Africa Leaders summit that South Sudan and the U.S. can patch up deteriorating relations and work together towards ending the civil war.”

Talks led by East African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to end more than seven months of fighting in South Sudan were supposed to get back up and running on Wednesday.

They are now due to resume in Addis Ababa on Monday -- just as the U.S.-Africa Leaders summit gets under way in Washington.

"Remarkable' US-South Sudan relations

Guol said relations between Juba and Washington have been "remarkable since the days of the struggle," the term used by many South Sudanese for the long fight for independence from Sudan.

"However, the incident of December 15" -- when fighting broke out in Juba before spreading to other parts of South Sudan -- "put us back," Guol said. 

"We believe that the efforts of the U.S. and other friendly countries who supported us in our struggle for independence – we feel we let them down," he said.

 

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: wadrodros from: juba
August 06, 2014 10:09 AM
this not time to acuse ple we need peace

by: Lisa from: Tx
August 05, 2014 6:53 AM
Dc, i don't blem you. I will stand for the Americans . Facts, because of American south sudanese know that they can express their freedom instead of being second hand class citizens. If your not for American then your evil . Sometimes you studip people don't understand what you want in life. Just look at your country not other nations before you hate the Americans. Am just a person who believe in peace and commonsense. If you refuse to understand how the Americans work stay studip. And enjoy your studipity like your presendent kiir.
In Response

by: Daplla Ahmed Daphaallah from: Kampala Uganda
August 08, 2014 5:22 AM
“People who think with their epidermis or their genitalia or their clan are the problem to begin with. One does not banish this specter by invoking it. If I would not vote against someone on the grounds of 'race' or 'gender' alone, then by the exact same token I would not cast a vote in his or her favor for the identical reason. Yet see how this obvious question makes fairly intelligent people say the most alarmingly stupid things.”

Lisa, not all South Sudanese are Stupid make correct wordings, the Shame that South Sudanese are facing in the world including you is from the behavior of our Leaders, Since resources are now abundant these leaders can’t relate it to the past sufferings of South Sudanese during the Liberation Struggle, not even directing these resources to strengthen the Country Security wise & other aspects. Point blank. the nonsenses that the remaining 59 tribes in south Sudan are facing is from some groups of Dinka & Nuer who calms to be patriotic for selfish gain, if all South Sudan tribes could behave backward like the Dinkas & the Nuers, South Sudan would have been in tones. Lias, you’re in Safe Heaven in the US. You aren’t aware of how politics goes down groom-up plse.

by: Chuol Both Met from: Ethiopia
August 04, 2014 6:42 PM
President Kiir, Why would you run here and there, blaming others for a situation you have caused to your on country? You knew that the West played a great role in creating this country. The West did just the right thing for you. This current situation is no longer a result of a coup. Do you still want somebody who initially intended something good for you to come back and take part in the destruction that you yourself has caused? What a shame could that be!

by: Dc from: Us
August 04, 2014 1:30 PM
Lisa, stop bragging, you could not win the war in iraq and afganistan. South sudanese know how to defend themselves. Try it and you will see. The greedy america and the west always want to destroy other countries because of their resources. You are messing with the wrong country this time. To rebel supporters, you cannot start a coup and complaint about death of people. Didn't you know people will die before your action.

by: Lisa from: Tx
August 04, 2014 11:34 AM
South Sudan government, this time their is no room for studipity. act like you mean it, you accused the west and the American for nothing. By the way don't mess with the American when it came s to killing innocent people, this time kiir ask forgiveness before your government is run down. You can not accuse people who help you achieving peace, in return your killing the innocent people do you think the world is not seeing, every body in kiir government is paid not to speak up. But one day your own families will pay so dearly. God bless peace makers.

by: Pete from: Mexico City
August 04, 2014 10:58 AM
Was he screened for ebola before entering the country?

by: akol deng akot from: juba
August 04, 2014 1:54 AM
Our president kiir right by the way,west country are not seeing well what is going on in the south Sudan between rebel and the elected government,the rebels want to took the the government by force which is not happen in the west country. If you want to help the people of south Sudan you just make peace with out condition from the rebels.
In Response

by: Nyakor from: US
August 04, 2014 12:01 PM
To be honest with you Akol, Western countries have seen enough.What Salva Kiir is doing in South Sudan by killing his own people is 100% wrong,.It would never happen and will never happen in western world for a president to kill his own people,buying more weapons and army in order to get rid of some of citizen of the country.May Salva Kiir realize that rebel are part of S.Sudan and reserved to be treated fairly.Thanks, Peace be with us all!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More