The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has protested sanction by the US government against senior government officials saying its ‘against peace.’
On Monday, the Trump administration sanctioned two South Sudanese cabinet ministers for what it describes as “expanding or extending the conflict in South Sudan including by obstructing the reconciliation process or peace talks.”
The Treasury Department specifically accuses Defense Minister Kuol Manyang of failing “to remove military forces from the battlefield as agreed, fomented violence with rival tribes” while Minister of Cabinet Affairs Dr. Martin Elia Lomuro is accused of alleged recruiting and organizing local militias to conduct attacks against opposition forces in South Sudan.
Elia and Kuol are also said to have allegedly perpetuated the conflict in South Sudan for their enrichment.
But the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs said the sanctions against the two cabinet ministers are not justified.
“All the sanctions against Martin Elia and Kuol Manyang is not really justified because of Hon. Kuol as a Minister of Defense has directed the forces to observe the cessation of hostilities that was signed in 2017 to date and he has really done a very excellent job in terms of observing the cessation of hostilities agreement,” Deng Dau told Eye Radio on Wednesday.
He defended the cabinet minister, saying “Martin Elia has continued to work with the National Pre-Transitional Committee to steer the process of the implementation of the peace agreement.”
Deng further said the two ministers have been supportive of the peace process in the country and that “bilateral sanctions against the people of South Sudan is a sanction against the whole country and is a sanction against peace itself.”
Some of the South Sudanese leaders the US government has sanctioned include Deputy Defense Minister Malek Reuben Riak, ex-army chief Gen. Paul Malong Awan, and Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth.
The individuals have directly or indirectly impeded peace including violating a ceasefire or cessation of hostilities agreement; violating the UN arms embargo; and engaging in corruption that fuels the conflict, according to the US government.
The US Envoy in Juba said on Wednesday that the United States will continue to impose sanctions on individual leaders if they do not implement the revitalized peace agreement as planned.
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