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South Sudan's London Embassy Closes Due to Inability to Pay Rent

A South Sudanese diplomat says his country's embassy in London has been closed due to a failure to pay rent since August.

VOA confirmed that South Sudan's embassy in Great Britain was closed on Tuesday.

A spokesman for South Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs insisted his government has not received official notice from its landlord in London.

"We are trying to our best so that we are able to pay the arrears that are needed by the landlords,'' Mawien Makol Arik told VOA.

Makol acknowledged the embassy is experiencing financial difficulties.

'We are aware of the difficulties that the [London] embassy has been going through as regards to the obligations that are needed for that embassy to carry its duty including the rent and other things," he said.

South Sudan's government announced in 2015 it would temporarily close down many of its embassies as the war-torn country's economy deteriorated. The country has about 24 embassies and missions in Africa, Middle East, Europe, Asia and America.

In June last year South Sudan recalled its top diplomats from seven countries, but said the recalls have nothing to do with the country's economic crisis.

The crisis, sparked by four years of civil war, has left South Sudan's government strapped for cash, and most of the country's envoys around the world have not received salaries for up to one year.

South Sudanese diplomats in Washington were finally paid one month's salary this month.

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    John Tanza

    John Tanza works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is the managing editor and host of the  South Sudan In Focus radio program.
    Before joining VOA, John worked in Nairobi, Kenya where he established the first independent radio station (Sudan Radio Service) for the people of Sudan. He has covered several civil wars both in Sudan and South Sudan and has been engaged in the production of civic education materials for creating awareness about post conflict issues facing Sudanese and South Sudanese. John has interviewed South Sudan President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar, Vice President Wani Igga, leader of Sudan’s Umma Party Sadiq Al Mahdi in addition to other senior United Nations and U.S government officials in South Sudan and Washington. His travels have taken him across to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, DRC Congo and parts East Africa where he reported on the South Sudanese diaspora and the challenges facing them.
    A South Sudanese national, John enjoys listening to music from all over the world, reads academic books, watches documentaries and listens to various radio stations on the internet.  You can follow John on Twitter at @Abusukon

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