News / Africa

US Threat of South Sudan Sanctions Not a Hollow Warning, Envoy Says

US Special Envoy to South Sudan and Sudan Donald Booth says Washington
US Special Envoy to South Sudan and Sudan Donald Booth says Washington "will take action" against those who continue to obstruct peace.
U.S. Special Envoy to South Sudan and Sudan Donald Booth says Washington's threat to slap sanctions on anyone violating human rights or obstructing the peace process in South Sudan is not just a hollow warning but will be put into action unless the warring sides in the young country stop fighting and respect a peace deal.

"As I have continually warned, for those who continue to obstruct the peace process, we will take action," Booth told South Sudan in Focus in an interview.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order nearly two weeks ago, clearing the way for U.S. visa bans and the seizure of assets held by anyone found to be stoking violence, violating human rights and blocking efforts to end the conflict in South Sudan.

The executive order was necessary, Booth said, because a cessation of hostilities agreement signed in late January has been repeatedly violated.

"Over the two months since that agreement was signed, there has been constant fighting, constant violations of that agreement," Booth said.

"That's one of the reasons why...we have moved forward with President Obama signing the executive order -- to try to convince the parties that have not respected the agreement that they have signed, to do so." he said.

The executive order should not be looked at as a threat of punishment, but as "an incentive -- a carrot, if you will -- to those who are trying to do the right thing," Booth said.

"This gives them some additional room for maneuver, gives them some leverage over those who would obstruct trying to move forward and honoring the cessation of hostilities agreement," Booth said.
 
Deteriorating conditions in a war zone

South Sudan's Minister in the Office of the President, Awan Riak, said during a visit to Washington last week that "there is a need for the U.S. as a midwife of the birth of the country of South Sudan, not to abandon us at this time and say it is punishing (us)."

"If there is anything we need most, it is support, not just punishing us," Riak said.
South Sudanese Minister in the Office of the President, Awan Riak, speaking at a panel discussion on the crisis in South Sudan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. on April 9, 2014.South Sudanese Minister in the Office of the President, Awan Riak, speaking at a panel discussion on the crisis in South Sudan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. on April 9, 2014.
x
South Sudanese Minister in the Office of the President, Awan Riak, speaking at a panel discussion on the crisis in South Sudan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. on April 9, 2014.
South Sudanese Minister in the Office of the President, Awan Riak, speaking at a panel discussion on the crisis in South Sudan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. on April 9, 2014.


Both the opposition and government have said they are not worried by the threat of U.S. sanctions, insisting that it is the other side that has been violating the ceasefire agreement while they have been trying to restore peace.

The two sides are set to resume peace talks in the Ethiopian capital at the end of this month, after a three-week recess.

During that time, the United Nations has sounded the alarm that famine could hit South Sudan, as the ongoing fighting prevents farmers in parts of the country from planting crops and forces thousands of South Sudanese to flee their homes and farms.

The U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) has warned that 50,000 South Sudanese children could die of hunger this year unless the international community steps up with more aid for the young country.

And at an urgent meeting in Washington at the weekend, top humanitarian officials from the United States, the United Nations and European Union warned that they have already seen the first signs of famine in South Sudan.
Empty tins litter the ground at the looted compound of an aid agency in Malakal, South Sudan.Empty tins litter the ground at the looted compound of an aid agency in Malakal, South Sudan.
x
Empty tins litter the ground at the looted compound of an aid agency in Malakal, South Sudan.
Empty tins litter the ground at the looted compound of an aid agency in Malakal, South Sudan.


Humanitarian aid 'frustrated'


Booth said the delivery of humanitarian assistance in South Sudan has been "frustrated," with aid workers threatened and harassed, life-saving shipments confiscated, and aid supplies looted -- in spite of the fact that the warring sides agreed in the cessation of hostilities agreement to allow humanitarian workers unimpeded access to people in need.

The best way to ensure that South Sudan is not hit by famine and major disease outbreaks, on top of the four-month-old conflict, would be "to stop the fighting," Booth said.

"The fighting continues to displace South Sudanese, the fighting continues to put those South Sudanese who have been displaced, as well as many others, at grave risk of not only disease but potentially - in some areas of the country - of famine," Booth said.

"We do not want to see the people of South Sudan face famine or major disease outbreaks. We want to try to get a handle on this... We need to get the fighting stopped, we need to get the cessation of hostilities respected, including the delivery of humanitarian assistance," he said.
 
Booth said Riak's visit to Washington was a step in the right direction.

"We had very fruitful and constructive discussions on ways forward, to try to bring about an end to the fighting and to try to bring about a true political process that will address the underlying issues in South Sudan," Booth said.

He also praised the unstinting efforts by East African bloc the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to broker a peace deal between the warring sides in South Sudan.
 


US working 'closely with IGAD'


The United States is working "very closely with IGAD to figure out a way" to deploy a regional force that would work with and protect verification teams who have been tasked with monitoring and reporting on any violations of the January cessation of hostilities agreement, the U.S. diplomat said.

"The priority is to bring about an end to the fighting so that the South Sudanese can start a true political dialogue on how to put their country back together," Booth said.

The headquarters for verification teams have been set up in Juba; teams are already in place in Bor and Bentiu, the capitals of Jonglei and Unity states, and another verification unit is set to be deployed in Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state. 

Thousands of people have fled all three towns, which have seen heavy fighting as government and opposition forces have fought for control of them.

But the driving reason behind the United States' commitment to peace in South Sudan remains its desire to "to bring about an end to the suffering of the people," Booth said.
 
"The best way to help them right now is to focus on bringing about an end to the fighting and to get the political discussion to establish South Sudan on a firm footing" that will prevent the world's newest nation from boiling over into "conflicts like this" in the future and will give the people of South Sudan real hopes for "a much brighter future for their children," Booth said. 

Listen to the entire interview by clicking on the link below.
 

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Deng from: juba
April 15, 2014 12:04 PM
What do GOSS want, they are not part of community of nations. I dont see anyone who is responsible in goverment or with the rebles. I think UN should administer south sudan then we have elections or else people of south sudan will suffer.

by: Ghai from: east africa
April 15, 2014 11:56 AM
why United state allies killing and looting south Sudanese in the name of unfounded coup by all Government and Institution including united and united state is not condemn this evil action. and supporting them formation of protection and deterring force to protect the oil field . is it to deter innocent south Sudanese and those talk of democracy? Mr Booth have interest in this fight he should not be allow by the united state to lead this negotiation him (booth ) kiir Moseveni of uganda are one in this plan of killing and looting south Sudanese.

by: Ghai from: east africa
April 15, 2014 11:46 AM
Booth is unfair in south Sudan conflict.if any one want to know please contact me on the e-mail above.

by: Bol from: Bor
April 15, 2014 10:00 AM
The US should give South Sudanese peoples, a space. The US is not a friend here, BUT an evil. The US is going to be fought very badly by South Sudanese for its game it is playing on South Sudanese Our people didn't move away from the evil arab North, only to be re-colonised by another criminals in the US, UK or France. South Sudanese people do not want any white man who would want to come to our country as usual benign Europeans we always know---;evil white people.

The Europeans and arabs are like snakes or 'anyueth thok', known as forget me not in English. This weed attaches its self onto the sheep and even some parts of the goats during their grazing and when they are home, the sheep and goats have gathers 'anyueth thok' weeds on their bodies. And you herder has to remove 'anyueth thok' on the sheep and goat bodies. The Europeans and Americans have gone too far, the US and European war in South Sudan and they will get it. They are not wanted in South Sudan.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs