US recalls ambassador to South Sudan over failure to form unity government

The United States on Monday recalled back its ambassador to South Sudan over the country’s failure to form a unity government.

Through State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus’s statement, Ambassador Thomas Hushek will meet with senior government officials in Washington as part of the re-evaluation of the US-South Sudan diplomatic relations.

Secretary of State Pompeo tweeted, “Called back our Ambassador to #SouthSudan for consultations as we re-evaluate our relationship with the Government of South Sudan. We will work with the region to support efforts to achieve peace and a successful political transition in South Sudan.”

Although the United Nations, African Union and Igad welcomed the extension, the United States said it was “gravely disappointed” and will reevaluate its relationship with South Sudan over the failure of its rival leaders to form a coalition government. The deadline was set on November 12.

South Sudan’s ruling and opposition parties had in May agreed to give themselves six more months to form a unity government as part of a peace deal they signed in September.

In March, the Security Council extended the UN peacekeeping mission’s mandate in South Sudan by a vote of 14-0, with Russia abstaining to protest the resolution’s failure to welcome September’s peace agreement.

US deputy ambassador Jonathan Cohen said the Trump administration “remains deeply concerned by the lack of political commitment from parties at the national level to fully implement all tenets of the agreement.”

“Having seen previous peace agreements in South Sudan fail to hold and the country fall back into conflict and instability,” Cohen said, “the United States and the South Sudanese people expect South Sudan’s leaders to demonstrate a clear commitment to the implementation of the agreement through rhetoric and action,” Cohen told reporters.

This is, however, a departure from UN’s analysis. Special envoy David Shearer told the UN Council that although previous peace agreements have failed, since the September deal was signed, the warring parties have been trying to rebuild trust though “progress has been slow.”

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

The Brief will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.