Friday, February 09, 2018

South Sudan Seeks to Strengthen Ties With Russia, China
South Sudan First Vice President Taban Deng Gai addresses the general debate of the UN General Assembly (UN Photo)

February 5, 2018 (JUBA) – War-torn South Sudan has, in the wake of the recent arms embargo from the United States administration, vowed to instead strengthen its ties with Russia and China.

The country’s First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai said the Juba government no longer looks at the US as its close ally and will instead strengthen its ties with China and Russia, two of the five countries with veto powers at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The Security Council "power of veto" refers to the veto power wielded solely by the five permanent members of the Council (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States), enabling them to prevent the adoption of any "substantive" resolution.

The South Sudanese first Vice-President made these remarks during a football tournament organized by the Japanese aid arm (JICA) and the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) at Juba stadium.

“The American government declared an arms embargo after failing to convince members of the United Nation Security Council to impose an arms embargo to South Sudan,” said Gai.

In response to the repeated violations of a cessation of hostilities agreement, the US administration last week slapped an arms embargo on South Sudan pointing to continued violence and brutality against civilians and humanitarian workers.

A former rebel chief negotiator during talks with the Juba government, Gai expressed deep frustration at the US decision, saying its administration is opposed to South Sudan’s peace process.

Gai said the young nation will now boost its diplomatic relations with China and the Russian Republic, stressing that the US was no longer a trusted economic partner after restricting arms into South Sudan.

Washington blames South Sudan government for not implementing the peace agreement signed in August 2015 and for repeatedly violating ceasefire agreements.

South Sudan descended into war in mid-December 2013 when Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup. Over 2 million South Sudanese have fled to neighbouring nations and 1.9 million are displaced in the country since the start of a civil war in December 2013, aid agencies say.


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