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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs