Thursday, March 24, 2016

South Sudan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Accepts Removal
March 24, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s foreign minister has welcomed his dismissal by a presidential order, thanking President Salva Kiir for entrusting him to serve the country.

"I feel honoured and grateful to the president and the people of South Sudan for the trust they gave me to serve in different capacities. My relieve of duties as the minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation is part of a normal administrative practice in the world," Barnaba Marial Benjamin told Sudan Tribune Thursday.

"It is a constitutional prerogative of the president to appoint and relief ministers. This is in our constitution, he added", Benjamin said he would be ready to serve the country in any capacity whenever the president and the leadership and the people of South Sudan decides where his skills and expertise would be required for use," he added.

Marial said it was inappropriate for anyone to ask why he was removed from office.

His comments come a day after President Kiir sacked Marial. In a decree, read on the state-owned SSTV, the South Sudan leader did not give reasons for Marial’s removal.

Marial signed a document sent to the United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights, in which Luka Biong Deng, a former South Sudanese minister for the presidency was referred to as a Sudanese national. Biong, who hails from the disputed region of Abyei, fled the country in October last year after he was threatened by security agents over a symposium he organised on the controversial creation of 28 new states.

Marial denied speaking such a statement, but declined to apologise publicly. He told a press conference in Juba on Monday that Abyei, the land of nine Ngok Dinka chiefdom as a South Sudanese land. He said the Dinka people are exclusively South Sudanese.

The foreign minister was criticised by opposition parties who called for his resignation.

A graduate from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Marial previously served as minister for regional cooperation, commerce and industry, information and broadcasting before he was appointed in 2013 as South Sudan’s foreign minister.

He also has a short stint as minister of international cooperation in the Khartoum-based Government of National Unity from 2005 and 2006. During South Sudan’s liberation struggle, Marial held various positions, including serving as secretary of international relations representing the SPLM in the executive of National Democratic Alliance (NDA).


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