South Sudan: Government says sanctions will not change its position on peace

File photo: Information Minister Michael Makuei

File photo: Information Minister Michael Makuei

South Sudan’s government has criticized the international community for calling for all-out sanctions against the newest nation saying the threats of sanctions will not change anything about its principled position on the peace process.

The Trump administration has recently restricted all sales of defence equipment and services to South Sudan, saying the move was in response to South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis and that the restrictions effectively amount to a “domestic arms embargo.”

Speaking during a press conference in Juba today, Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister of Information and Communication said the threats that time had come to slap sanctions against South Sudan will never change their position and could likely fuel the ongoing civil war in the country.

Makuei, who is sanctioned by the United States, Canada and the Europe Union for his role in the unrest, has insisted that the threats with an arms embargo against his government risk spoiling the pursuit for peace.

“This idea of arms embargo, this idea is the last opportunity if you don’t bring peace. All are threats that do not help us,” he said, noting sanctions will never help bring peace to the world’s youngest nation.

“The international community and those who are using that language should review their stand and understand people other than using empty threats because these threats will not find their ways in us, and will not change our position,”” Makuei said.

The government spokesman rejected fixed deadlines for peace negotiations between his government and the opposition. “In negotiations you don’t say this is the last round …When you ask me about that question,  it means you’re talking the language of those who say this is the last opportunity, if you don’t bring peace, we will apply a Plan B to you,” he said.

“We cannot just be threatened…We are a sovereign state and nobody has the rights to threaten South Sudan. South Sudan is nobody’s child other than the South Sudanese.”

Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations said recently her country was disappointed by South Sudan, calling the country’s president Salva Kiir as “unfit partner” in the pursuit of peace.