U.S. lays down conditions for lifting South Sudan sanctions

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan, Tom Hushek, participates in an inauguration ceremony of feeder roads in Western Equatoria, 5 May 2020. /Photo courtesy: US Embassy, Juba

The United States is willing to lift an arms embargo and targeted sanctions against South Sudan, but the country has to make progress in the quest for lasting peace and the fight against corruption, outgoing ambassador Thomas Hushek said.

BBC quotes Hushek to say South Sudan has to work on a “reduction in level of violence and corruption” in the system for the sanctions to be lifted.

The United Nations Security Council renewed the arms embargo in May for a period of one year to stop the flow of weapons to armed groups.

South Sudan has been dogged by violence for more than six years, killing tens of thousands and displacing millions others.

The U.S. has been part of an international community piling pressure on the country to instill lasting peace, having only gained its independence in 2011.

Besides the U.S. sanctions, the U.S. government also imposed its own sanctions against some South Sudanese senior government officials, including former first Vice-President Taban Deng Gai.

“This year when we adopted a resolution at the UN Security Council, we put new language in the resolution that talks about establishing benchmarks, establishing peace-building that will eventually lead to the lifting of arms embargo,” BBC quotes Ambassador Hushek.

“So there is a plan that will be developed about how to remove that particular state of sanctions.

“We offered a plan to remove those sanctions, this involved [the government] taking steps on financial transparency reforms and we will discuss that plan with government officials here.”