South Sudan on Tuesday said sanctions imposed on Monday by the US on two of its senior officials serve to hurt ongoing implementation of the revitalised peace agreement to end more than five years of conflict.
Deng Dau Deng, deputy minister of foreign affairs told Xinhua on Tuesday that the sanctions imposed by the US Treasury on Kuol Manyang Juuk, minister of defense and Martin Elia Lomuro, minister of cabinet affairs, are not helpful as they disrupt ongoing efforts to end the conflict.
"The sanctions are not helpful particularly at this time, because the government of South Sudan from 2017 signed the cessation of hostilities. We continue to implement all the provisions of the peace agreement and there is no instability from December 2017 to date and this shows that the defense minister has done absolutely what says in the agreement," said Deng.
The Treasury claimed in a statement that these officials have obstructed reconciliation efforts, hence perpetuating the conflict for their own personal enrichment.
The sanctions freeze any US assets held by the officials and prohibit Americans from engaging in transactions with them. Washington also claimed that Juuk went against provisions of the peace deal by refusing to withdraw soldiers still on the battlefield and blamed Lomuro for recruiting militias to fight the opposition.
"Sanctioning the minister of defence and that of cabinet affairs in our view is not helping in the implementation of the agreement, but it's actually creating more suffering for the people of South Sudan because sanctions have never been helpful in any other place," he added.
The Trump administration last week also sanctioned five South Sudanese intelligence officials, including travel restrictions and asset freeze, blaming them for having masterminded the kidnapping in 2017 of two government critics in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
"What we call for from the US is to help in implementing the agreement and not sanctions. There has not been any fight since the cessation of hostilities with exception of the non-signatories, Thomas Cirilo who have been fighting in Yei River state and yet these people are left at large," said Deng.
South Sudan had been mired in a civil war since December 2013 between the troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and to opposition leader Riek Machar.
A peace deal signed in 2015 collapsed after renewed violence in July 2016, and the rivals signed a revitalized peace agreement in September 2018.
In November, Kiir and Machar agreed to postpone forming the transitional government for an additional 100 days after failing to resolve their differences mainly on outstanding security issues.