S. Sudan lauds Russia for blocking sanctions against army chief

From: Berhane Habtemariam <>
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 23:13:28 +0200

September 16, 2015 (JUBA) - South Sudanese government on Wednesday issued a statement commending Russia and Angola for rejecting imposition of targeted sanctions on the army’s chief of general staff and a former militia ally turned rebel commander.
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President Salva Kiir, (L), accompanied by army chief of staff Paul Malong Awan, (R), waves during an independence day ceremony in the capital Juba, on July 9, 2015 (Photo AP)

South Sudanese deputy minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Peter Bashir Gbandi, said the leadership of his country was grateful and commended those countries which opposed imposition of sanctions on the chief of general staff, Paul Malong Awan.

“We are grateful as people and as the government of the republic of South Sudan for diplomatic support extended to us by the government of Russia and Angola at the United Nations Security Council,” said Gbandi.

He said it would be unwise and undesirable at this time to impose sanctions, whether targeted or not, when the government had demonstrated willingness to implement the peace agreement and end the conflict.

“We welcomed and commended these countries for standing with us at this critical and trying moment. We appealed for support not punitive measures because it would be unwise and undesirable decision,” he added.

The second top diplomat in the war-ravaged South Sudan explained that sanctions would complicate the situation in the region and might stand in the way of finding amicable solutions to resolving the issues through mutual understanding with support and cooperation of friends and assistances from the region and international community.

The comments come after the United States of America proposed through the UN Security Council sanctions committee that South Sudanese army chief Paul Malong and rebel commander Johnson Olony be placed to a global travel ban and asset freeze, but Russia, backed Angola, which is the only African nation and Venezuela which opposed the move.

Gordon Buay, one of the representatives of the government of South Sudan at its mission to the United States told Sudan Tribune during an exclusive interview shortly after the proposal was objected by the Russian government and two other countries that the rejection was an indication that the UN Security Council was now becoming a global organization.

“There were no basis for wanting to impose sanctions on the chief of general staff. There was nothing wrong he did to warrant imposition of a punitive measure against him”, said Buay.

The diplomat revealed that diplomatic efforts, which his government through its foreign offices in the United States and at the United Nations Security Council exerted in explaining the position of the government and its commitment, contributed to changing the mind of Russia to come out in their support against imposition of sanctions on military commanders.

“US officials had initially hoped they could push through a United Nations sanctions resolution, but our efforts at the embassy here and our colleagues at the permanent mission to the United Nations headquarters at the New York proved effective after managing to convince our allies at the Security Council. Russia came out and was followed by Angola and Venezuela. We are grateful for their support and commended them for demonstrating true friendship,” he said.

Unity state minister of youth, culture and sports, Lam Tungwar, in a separate interview with Sudan Tribune, commended the decision taken by Russia, Angola and Venezuela.

“As youth leaders from across South Sudan and in East African countries, appreciate and very much welcomed the support we received at the United Nations Security [Council] from the government of Russia, Angola and Venezuela. Sanctions are not means of resolving issues,” he said.

Army chief, Malong Awan was allegedly responsible for mobilization of the Dinka ethnic militia group and presidential guards that massacred civilians on 15 December 2013 in the national capital, Juba. He is also accused of violating the ceasefire agreement.

He and opposition’s top commander in Upper Nile state, Johnson Olony, were named in the draft resolutions as against the peace process.


South Sudan’s Kiir says ruling party split inevitable

September 15, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, also the chairperson of the country’s ruling party (SPLM), observed that the peace accord where by power will be shared by three party factions meant the division in the party was inevitable.
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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (Photo: Reuters)

Addressing reporters on Tuesday, Kiir said his offer to keep the SPLM united had been ignored

“The realities of our political differences within the SPLM which happen in 2013 managed to surface clearly again in the signing of the compromise peace agreement,” said Kiir, who did not take questions from journalists after reading a prepared speech.

The conflict, which was meant to end with the signing of a peace agreement last month started on December 15, 2013 following intensive power struggle between President Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar for the leadership of the ruling SPLM party.

A dozen SPLM leaders were detained at the onset of the conflict, including the party’s secretary general, Pagan Amum. They were released four months later and went on to form a third bloc known as the SPLM former detainees. The government, rebels led by former vice president Machar and former detainees will have 53%, 33% and 7% of executive powers at the national level respectively. The rest will go other political parties.

President Kiir said the agreement, mediated by regional bloc, the intergovernmental governmental authority on development (IGAD), has divided the SPLM party and the entire country.

“This IGAD prescribe peace document on the resolution on the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan is the most divisive, unprecedented peace deal ever in the history of our country and the African Continent at large,” he said.

The objectives of the Arusha Agreement, he said, have unfortunately been "under-mined” by some clauses of the IGAD agreement. He was referring to the Tanzanian and South African-led SPLM reunification deal signed in January this year in Arusha, Tanzania. The accord reinstated all members of the SPLM, including Machar and Amum to their positions in the SPLM. Amum was in July reinstated as the party’s secretary general.

President Kiir insisted that the SPLM should remain one if the accord was to be fully respected.

“It must be stated clearly that the reality of political differences within the SPLM, which has been cemented in the peace agreement and accepted fully by our colleagues in the opposition, required all of us to reorganize ourselves on a new bases. This simply means that SPLM will never be one again as long as we follow the implementation of this compromise peace agreement,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Kiir hinted on new changes to be made in the SPLM, reiterating his earlier fears for possible disintegration of the former guerrilla movement on the basis of the IGAD mediated accord made “with full consent of our brothers; the former detainees.”

“The methods for the selection and distribution of the national ministries among the three groups of the SPLM as stipulated in the agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan does not reflect the sprite of members of one party who abide by common principles and discipline as enshrines in the SPLM constitution including the rules and regulations of the party,” said the South Sudan leader.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement was formed after the outbreak of Sudanese civil in 1983 by John Garang, who died twenty one days after becoming the first vice president of Sudan in accordance to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Later on, Kiir took over and became the president of the new country in 2011 when South Sudanese voted for independence, a plebiscite promised in the CPA. Disagreement in SPLM over leadership styles and democracy are common. In 1991, Machar, the current leader of the SPLM in Opposition (SPLM-O), broke away from the late Garang. Disagreements over the ascension to SPLM leadership is blamed for causing the war, which was to end through the peace deal, where Machar becomes first vice president.


Received on Wed Sep 16 2015 - 17:19:05 EDT

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