United States calls South Sudan government 'unfit partner'
US Ambassador Nikki Haley said Wednesday the United States is disappointed by South Sudan’s government led by President Kiir after supporting the independence in 2011 and investing over $11 billion, calling it “an unfit partner” in the pursuit of peace in South Sudan.
“The government of South Sudan is increasingly proving itself to be an unfit partner for this Council and any country seeking peace and security for the people of South Sudan,” Haley told the UN Security Council.
Haley said independent ceasefire monitors are reporting government forces continued their deployments despite the cessation of hostilities deal. “Not surprisingly, more fighting followed. Opposition forces are also responsible for the fighting. Forces under Riek Machar’s command spearheaded an attack in which at least 15 civilians were killed. And on January 4, forces loyal to a former South Sudan army chief orchestrated an attack on a government checkpoint,” she said.
The US diplomat called promotion of three South Sudanese army generals sanctioned by the United Nations in 2015 “a slap in the face” of the Security Council, and the nations that supported the Kiir government, and “of basic decency.”
“These are men who led the slaughter of innocent South Sudanese children, women, and old men. Hundreds of victims reportedly were buried in mass graves. And the Government of South Sudan decided to promote their killers,” she said.
Attempts to ease the suffering of the people of South Sudan aren’t working, she added, “and what’s worse, we’re failing, not despite the leadership of South Sudan, but because of it.”
“The time has come to acknowledge the hard reality that the leaders of South Sudan are not just failing their people, they are betraying them,” Haley said.
The US official pushed for an arm embargo to be imposed on South Sudan. “We must change course. It’s long past time that the Security Council establish an arms embargo on South Sudan. Rather than continue to hold endless meetings on a crisis that only becomes worse each month, I urge my fellow Council members to support an arms embargo,” she said.
She pointed out that an arms embargo would help the people of South Sudan to slow the violence, slow the flow of arms and ammunition, and protect innocent lives.
The US ambassador considers the revitalization process of the 2015 peace agreement as an opportunity to find the political will to compromise on longer-term security and governance arrangements that meet the needs of South Sudan’s people.
Haley is one of the highest-ranking officials in the Trump administration who visited South Sudan in October last year.