JUBA- Kenya’s National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula on Friday called for the lifting of the “unwarranted” sanctions imposed on South Sudan by foreign entities.
Speaking during an address at a dinner hosted by South Sudan Speaker Jemma Nunu in Juba on Friday, Wetangúla said the sanctions impede the country’s progress, disrupting regional development, even as he underscored the undesirability of the sanctions in the pursuit of economic and political stability.
“Acknowledging South Sudan’s commendable strides in fostering peaceful coexistence among its citizens and leaders is a move that warrants lifting the sanctions. I called upon all EAC member countries to rally behind peace initiatives in South Sudan, emphasizing that peace within the nation resonates as peace within the entire region,” Wetang’ula said at the conclusion of the EAC Speakers’ Bureau conference in Juba.
The EAC Speakers’ Bureau was established in 2008 with a mandate to come up with a functional working relationship between the Speakers of the partner States.
The sanctions by the United Nations Security Council include assets freezes, travel bans and arms embargo.
Wetang’ula said South Sudan, being the newest State in the region, deserves support and not the unwarranted sanctions, even as he assured Juba of Nairobi’s support to shake off the sanctions.
South Sudan Foreign Affairs Minister Barnaba Marial had complained to the speakers during the meeting that the sanctions were reversing positive progress made by the State.
Marial pointed out that South Sudan’s men basketball team had qualified to represent Africa in Olympics and expressed fears that the historical achievement might be shuttered by the sanctions.
“South Sudan’s qualification to represent Africa in basketball Olympic games has elicited excitement and hope among our people but we fear that the sanctions might see our team being locked out,” he added.
He rallied other EAC member States to support campaigns to have the sanctions lifted.
Nunu told the meeting that South Sudan under the stewardship of President Silva Kiir had made tremendous progress in ensuring peace and stability.
“South Sudan is now a peaceful country. The hosting of the EAC Speakers’ Bureau meeting is an indication of peace and stability,” he said.
On May 30 2023, UNSC announced it had extended sanctions on South Sudan for a year through Resolution 2683 (2023) by 10 Votes in favour with five abstentions.
The 10 countries that voted in favour of the resolution include Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Japan, Malta, Switzerland, the UAE, the UK and the US.
Those that abstained were China, Gabon, Ghana, Mozambique and Russia.
UNSC said it was guided by violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by all parties, including by armed groups and national security forces.
The Council further condemned targeting of civil society, including journalists, human rights defenders and humanitarian personnel, emphasising on the need for the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity to bear the primary responsibility to protect its population from genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The arms embargo is in place until May 31, 2024 and bars all Member States from direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms to the territory of South Sudan.
This further stops supply, sale or transfer of non-lethal military equipment, solely in support of the implementation of the terms of the peace agreement and related technical assistance or training on such equipment.
In line with the sanctions, all Member States shall take measures to freeze the financial assets of designated individuals and prevent their entry into or transit through their territories.
The Speakers’ Bureau meeting resolved that in an effort to enhance linkages between EALA and National Assemblies a sensitisation programme should be undertaken from January 14- 25, 2023.
The meeting also resolved that Kenya will permanently host the East African Parliamentary Institute.
The Speakers observed that the Bureau faced financial challenges occasioned by failure by member states to remit their dues as required as they prevailed upon defaulters to pay up.
It was resolved that the annual Inter parliamentary games will be held in Rwanda on December 8 to 19, 2023.