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U.S says military assistance to South Sudan part of peace

Author : | Published: Thursday, October 13, 2016

The U.S Embassy in Juba says a decision to allow for the provision of assistance on Military Education and Training, and Peacekeeping Operations to South Sudan, is to help the implementation of the peace agreement.

A statement by the embassy today says it is a partial waiver that does not indicate a U.S. government intention to expand assistance to South Sudan.

Two weeks ago, a White House Presidential memoranda indicated that South Sudan will benefit from military aid in form of training and education under the Child Soldiers Prevention Act waiver.

The waiver directed the State Department to initiate programs of assistance to South Sudan, despite recent reports by UNICEF that children in the country are still being forcefully recruited into the armed forces.
The Child Soldiers Prevention Act is supposed to ban provision of military assistance to nations that use child soldiers.

However, the embassy in Juba today clarified that this is a partial waiver granted by President Obama to ensure the U.S. government can continue to provide financial assistance to the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Monitoring Mechanism, which is charged with monitoring ceasefire violations.

“This waiver was necessary to ensure the U.S. government can continue to provide financial assistance to support implementation of the peace agreement, especially to the body known as the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM), which is charged with monitoring ceasefire violations. Without this waiver, the United States would be unable to support ceasefire monitoring, a critical activity given ongoing hostilities,” the statement reads.

“This waiver is similar to one issued one year ago, has no relation to the deliberations in New York over the possibility of imposing a UN Security Council arms embargo, and does not mark any change in U.S. policy towards South Sudan,” it said.

The statementsays that the United States is currently prohibited from providing new assistance to the Government of South Sudan until the government takes effective steps to end hostilities and pursue good faith negotiations for a political settlement of the current conflict.

“Moreover, this partial waiver does not indicate a U.S. government intention to expand assistance to South Sudan,” the embassy in Juba says in a statement.

The ban is in place until the government ends hostilities and agrees to pursue good faith negotiations for a political settlement of the current conflict, and provide access for humanitarian organizations.

It also demands an end to the recruitment and use of child soldiers, protection of freedoms of expression, association, and assembly.

The law also restricts new military assistance to South Sudan until the government reduces corruption related to the extraction and sale of oil and gas.

It requires the establishment of democratic institutions, including accountable military and policy forces under civilian authority in South Sudan.

The statement by the U.S embassy further says the only exception in this law is the humanitarian assistance; in which the United States has provided nearly 1.9 billion dollars in emergency humanitarian since December 2013.

The US also reiterated its calls on South Sudan’s leaders to prioritize the safety and security of the citizens they represent and to allow access to those in need.

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