Lwak Nelson of Miraya FM and Koang Pal Chang of Eye Radio Interviewed US Ambassador Nikki Haley at the UN House on 25 October 2017.
Below the Transcribed Text:
Lwak Nelson of Miraya FM: Good afternoon, welcome to Juba and welcome to our studio in UN House, my name is Lwak Nelson, I worked for UN radio.
Koang Pal of Eye Radio: My name is Koang Pal; I work for the local radio station – Eye Radio.
Nelson: Ambassador Nikki Haley, tell us the purpose of your visit to South Sudan?
Ambassador Haley: Well, I think when… the original reason we wanted to come to South Sudan is that the United States has invested a lot, in the independent and the freedom of the people in South Sudan. It been over 11 billion dollar, but then a lot of energy and a lot resources as well, and so we are disappointed by what we are seeing, this isn’t what we thought we were investing in, what we thought what we were investing in a free, fair society where people could be safe, and South Sudan is the opposite of that. But we are not going to give up on the South Sudanese people, we are here to fight for them, we are here to help, do whatever we have to, to make peace and security become a permanent part of South Sudan.
Pal: Ambassador, you have been to Ethiopia and visited some refugee camps, and also met some IDPs here. What is your assessment?
Ambassador Haley: Its tragic, its absolutely tragic, the stories that we have heard whether the sexual violent, whether the child soldier, whether the hunger and lack of healthcare, but more importantly the lack of being heard, the people are not being heard and when you have that conflict arises and I think what we need to be careful of is we have to understand the enormity of the situation, and the fact that not one person can fix the situation, it’s going to have to be an effort by everyone, and in order to truly bring peace to South Sudan, people are going to have to accept the memory that they have, but commit to a future where that resent may goes away, because it’s so deep, and it’s so personal, and it’s so hurtful, that I think it’s clouding everyone judgement, and our concern is for the children, these children who are getting into arm conflict as early as early as 9 years old, these children who are not being educated, those are the future leaders of South Sudan, so for the good of the children, we need peace; we need all of the groups to say enough, we are not going to do this anymore for the good of the children and for the good of the future of South Sudan is extremely important.
Nelson: You met the president early today, what did you discuss with him?
Ambassador Haley: I think we had a very frank conversation, he uh, in fairness to him, he listen, he was not defensive and what I told him was that the United States didn’t want to hear a lot of talks. I wasn’t here to listen to what he had to say, I was here to say that the United States is at a cross point. It’s not about the talk, it about the action. And we have to see action, we have to see a willingness of the government and the military, to stop the violence and stop the abuses that are happening in this country. and uh, I made it very clear that President Trump and his administration deeply care about the people of South Sudan, and we are not going stop until we feel they are getting care for the way they support.
Pal: Ambassador Haley, several officials from US government and UN Security Council have been coming, the former Secretary of State, John Kerry and the former US Ambassador to UN Samantha Power were here. They came here and talk a lot with the leadership, what makes your trip different? South Sudanese want something done, what is going to happen after your visit?
Ambassador Haley: I didn’t come here to talk, I came here to basically say, the time for action is now. We are not waiting anymore. We need to see a change, and we need to see it right away and there is nothing that they can say at this point. We have lost trust in the government and we now need to regain that trust, and the only way to gain that trust is through the actions of taking care of all of the people. President Kiir is the president of everyone, not just one tribe, not just one group. And in order to be a leader, you have to be willing to take care of all of your people. So it was a harsh message but on the other side he listened, he accepted, and he promised that we will see changes. …. Thank you very much; you know one thing we want to tell the people of South Sudan, we are not going to forget you. We are not going to put this issue away; we are not going turn a blind to them. We have heard the stories, we know the actions, and we know the tragedy, and we know that healing is going take a very long time, but the United States is not going give up on the people of South Sudan.