Biden appoints new ambassador to South Sudan

Biden appoints new ambassador to South Sudan
U.S. President Joe Biden. [Photo: Getty Images]

The nomination of the United States Ambassador to South Sudan is viewed as an eye ointment to the blinded relationship between South Sudan and the United States, with sanctions on individuals and a seemingly rebellious image portrayed by US Senator Patrick Leahy.

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, announced on Wednesday the new appointees who would represent the United States in Sudan and South Sudan. John Godfrey was named as the US Ambassador to Sudan, while Michael Adler was named as the US Ambassador to South Sudan.

The Executive Director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), Edmund Yakani, has welcomed the nomination.

He said that the newly appointed US Ambassador to South Sudan would be an emblem of cooperation and relationship healing between the US and South Sudan and that the country should strive to develop that relationship through transparency and accountability.

“The coming of the Ambassador should open a window of negotiation between the government of South Sudan and the US government to start working towards a milestone, including sanctions of individuals through actions that will convince the government of the US that there is a change in the political atmosphere in South Sudan,” he said.

“You can’t fight sanctions by having tribes or fight corruption by being harsh. You can only fight sanctions by changing your attitude. So, I hope the coming of the ambassador could bring a change of attitude among various leaders in South Sudan that will lead to dialogue so that the dialogue will yield to the commitment of the US to contribute within the concept of globalisation,” he argued.

Restoring image

He said improving the ranking would attract better relations by having the national budget published. The appropriation bill must be in place to show how the budget is used, and the use of money must be checked by a committee.

Yakani added that the national auditor-general should be given receipts to audit the use of public funds as anti-corruption should step up to investigate corrupt officials and hold them accountable without the compromise of changing them from one political seat to another.

The ambassador is directly linked with the White House, and when he sees positive results and reports them, the relations between the two countries will improve.

He said that it was the primary responsibility of South Sudanese to endeavour to attain lasting peace and stability through a positive change of attitude.

He called on the parties to the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan to make peace a priority through expeditious implementation, especially of that Chapter of the Agreement which entails the formation of the unified army command.

Yakani stated that sanctions should not be taken for granted in order to dismiss the implementation of the peace agreement, but that peace must first prevail in order for sanctions and the arms embargo to be lifted through tangible improvement.

He noted that disarmament had occurred in some areas of the country, and thus the issue of the arms embargo is no longer relevant because the guns that had been disarmed could be used to train the forces.

“There has been a challenge pertaining to the graduation of forces due to a lack of uniforms and rifles, but the logical question we normally ask is that we have been seeing a lot of disarmament of civilians, rifles and guns were collected; the big question is that we have not seen one day one time that these guns were destroyed. Where are they? Can’t they be used for the graduation of these forces? ” he posed.

“If these soldiers are not fresh civilians that were trained as soldiers, whose guns they were using during the crisis, where are they? How come when they were in the bush they had rifles and when they came out of the bush they lacked rifles? And if they are fresh civilians, then after the signing of the ceasefire agreement, no party was allowed to recruit. “

He said that Egypt and Sudan had donated uniforms, so they should be used for graduating the forces.

Yakani said the appointment of the ambassador had followed the exchange of reactions concerning Senator Patrick Leahy’s message about South Sudan, which he said was more of an alarm for the leadership to be politically mature.

He stressed that the US government must be trying its best to mend the seemingly broken relationship, as seen in the reactions from the government to the Senator’s message.

He called for the government to devise means of restoring its image through budget publishing, and transparent use of non-oil revenue.

Pledge to cooperate

At his meeting with President Salva Kiir Mayardit, the United States Charge’d’Affaires, David W. Renz, promised the government of South Sudan US support towards peace and stability in the country.

The meeting discussed relations between the US and South Sudan, as Renz hailed Kiir’s efforts to restore peace in Sudan.

“President Salva Kiir Mayardit and US Ambassador David W. Renz discussed ways to foster cooperation between Washington and Juba as well as the preparation for the upcoming elections,” read the statement from the office of the President.

“US Ambassador David W. Renz applauded President Salva Kiir Mayardit for his commitment to restoring peace in Sudan and assured him of the United States’ support for peace and stability in South Sudan,” the statement added.

Withdraw sanctions

In December, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation urged the government of the United States to withdraw sanctions imposed on companies and individuals from South Sudan.

The statement published by the ministry indicated that sanctions had “far-reaching implications for America’s relations with the continent,” as they weakened instead of strengthening national reforms.

“The unfortunate decision of the United States government to impose additional sanctions on two South Sudanese companies runs counter to such a spirit of constructive engagement and falls short of its intention to strengthen our government institutions,” he said.

“We encourage the United States to cease its preoccupation with sanctions and choose this noble path of constructive engagement to strengthen our institutions towards consolidating peace, security, and stability for the country.”

The statement indicated that sanctions could be a great setback to bilateral relations between South Sudan and the US and thus should be revisited beforehand.

“After South Sudan’s recent civil conflicts, the so-called experts on South Sudan based in the United States have been continuously lobbying for counterproductive sanctions against South Sudan. “This misguided cynicism risks causing undesirable hiccups in our improving bilateral relations with America,” the statement read.

“Casting sovereign African states as children punishable through sanctions is a self-defeating form of paternalism that has no place in the advanced world. Leadership internationally will more and more accrue to those countries that uphold the principles of respect and cooperation amongst sovereign states.”

The Ministry appreciated partners for their support in developing institutions ravaged by the 2013 and 2016 conflicts.

“Decisions to impose sanctions on African countries have far-reaching implications for America’s relations with the continent. In South Sudan, sanctions weaken rather than reinforce our reform agenda.”

“Enlightened United States policymakers can make more rational decisions and exercise greater discretion. Despite the difficulties, we urge them to join others internationally standing with South Sudan as we incrementally build more vital institutions to deliver peace, stability, and development to our people.”

The statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs came after the United States Department of Treasury slapped the African Resource Corporation and Winners Construction Company Limited with sanctions on allegations of corruption.

Who’s Adler?

Adler, who will be the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of South Sudan, brings to office three decades of experience, including his service at the National Security Council (NSC) as the Deputy Senior Director for South Asia and formerly as the Director for Afghanistan.

Adler also served as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs at the State Department, the Director of the Office of Afghanistan Affairs in the State Department, the Director of the Office of Near Eastern Affairs in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and in the Bureaus of Political-Military Affairs and Near Eastern Affairs.

He has also worked overseas as the Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassies in Lebanon and Kuwait, as Political Counsellor of the US Embassy in Afghanistan, and in Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, and Qatar.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Pomona College and a Master’s Degree from Stanford University.