S. Sudan to close some embassies over financial woes: official

Tuesday May 21 2019

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir waves during a session at the National Parliament in Juba, on May 14, 2019. Juba has announced it will close some overseas embassies. PHOTO | AFP 

JOHN ADUKATA
By JOHN ADUKATA
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The South Sudan government plans to close a number of its overseas embassies due to financial constraints.

Mr Mawien Makol, the spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry, told local media Juba is finding it difficult to manage most embassies abroad.

“We thought of closing a number of embassies so that we can manage the remaining ones well,” Mr Makol said, as quoted by The Dawn newspaper in Juba.

An official at the ministry, who requested anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the media, told the The EastAfrican that the country has not decided on exactly how many embassies will be closed.

According to Xinhua news agency, Mr Makol said the country is reviewing the status of its 39 embassies and a consulate in Dubai before deciding on the number to be closed.

"It is a process that is still underway and we are going to finalise it and come out with the embassies that are going to be closed," he said, as quoted by Xinhua.

On May 16, Juba announced it had sacked 40 overseas diplomats for not showing up for work, some of them for years.

South Sudan heavily relies on oil revenue to fund its national projects.

The young nation became an independent state in 2011 following a referendum that favoured its separation from Sudan.

Economic troubles began after the outbreak of civil war in 2013, as oil production declined and inflation hit. Rampant corruption and political instability have also been blamed for the country's financial woes.

Additional reporting from Xinhua.

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of the story stated that Juba announced it would close 39 embassies. This has been corrected. We regret the error.

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