South Sudan recalls ambassador to U.S. after latest sanctions

FILE PHOTO: President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit (front L) attends a meeting with Riek Machar (front R), AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ismail Chergui (rear L), Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta (rear C) and Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Desalegn (rear R) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on February 01, 2015./ Getty Images

South Sudan has recalled its ambassador to the United States for “consultations,” in response to sanctions placed on two South Sudanese officials by the U.S. Treasury.

According to presidential adviser Ted Dagne, Ambassador Phillip Jada is expected to return to the capital, Juba, this weekend.

Juba’s latest move comes two days after the warring factions in the world’s youngest nation reached an agreement for the formation of a transitional unity government by February.

The U.S. sanctions were aimed at piling pressure on the sides to strike a deal to end the conflict that has ravaged the country for six years.

Dagne said that the U.S. sanctions are not constructive and do not reflect recent positive steps toward forming a coalition government by President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar.

South Sudan descended into war in December 2013, sparked by a feud between President Kiir and his then-deputy Machar.

Kiir accused Machar of plotting to overthrow his rule, but the latter denied the allegations though he went on to mobilize a rebel movement to fight the government.

The war has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions, prompting the United Nations to rank the country as Africa’s biggest refugee crisis.

With pressure from regional and international actors, Kiir and Machar are locked in talks aimed at returning lasting peace to the country.