Senate tells US to evaluate its policy towards S Sudan
Daniel Danis | September 21, 2016
<> | 5:03 pm
[image: Bob Corker, Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign
Relations] Bob Corker, Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign

The Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has called for
the evaluation of the United States policy towards South Sudan.

Senator Bob Corker was making his opening remarks at a hearing which
included South Sudanese academicians, Dr Jok Madut Jok and Dr Luka Biong in
Washington DC.

The hearing, entitled: “South Sudan: Options in Crisis” required the
well-educated researchers to explain what they think should be done to
bring forth political reforms in South Sudan.

Senator Bob Corker believes that the recent replacement of Dr Riek Machar
invalidates the Transitional Government of National Unity.

He questioned whether the deployment of an additional foreign peacekeeping
force would resolve issues of security in South Sudan.

“UNMISS is tested and already stretched limits of peacekeeping missions,
and with the addition of Protection of Civilian sites, and proposed
regional protection force, one must ask; is this a recipe for failure?” Mt
Corker asked.

*The Testimonies*

On her testimony to the Senate Committee, the Director of the Africa Center
for Strategic Studies at the US Department of Defense, Kate Almquist Knopf,
said the next US policy for South Sudan should include empowering the
citizens and sidelining leaders who are against peace.

Ms Knopf recommended that the idea for an African Union-UN trusteeship
should be reexamined by the US.

She stated: “A fundamentally different approach is needed; one that
protects South Sudan sovereignty and territorial integrity, while
empowering the citizens of South Sudan to take ownership of their future,
absent the predations of morally bankrupt elite.”

However, Dr Luka Biong Deng, who is a Global Fellow at the Peace Research
Institute in Oslo, said diverting from the current peace agreement would
result in more instability.

Dr Biong said the international community needs to consider tough actions
for those who are derailing the implementation of the agreement.

“It is these anti-peace elements that are actually not respecting the
President of the republic, by producing contrary statements about the
President’s reconciliatory positions,” Dr Biong argued.

For his part, Dr Jok Madut of the Sudd Institute told the hearing that he
did not believe the continuous provision of aid to South Sudanese keeps
their leaders concerned about their welfare.

*‘Rethink humanitarian aid’*

Dr Jok said the leaders in South Sudanese must be made accountable to the
suffering of their citizens.

“The international community has always bailed out the leaders of South
Sudan from their responsibilities to take welfare of their people, and the
international community assistance – especially the humanitarian
assistance,” Dr Jok said.

“[It] may be keeping some people alive, but [it] has really become an alibi
for failure of the leadership in South Sudan. I’m willing to suggest that
we rethink this.”

The ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Ben
Cardin, cautioned that the situation in South Sudan could be similar to
that of Darfur, if the world does not act fast.

Senator Cardin said South Sudan’s government must accept the assistance of
a regional force in order to stabilize the country.

“I think it is critically important for South Sudan to have the presence of
the international body, and yet the government is restricting what
equipment they can take, which countries they come from and preventing them
from doing their mission,” Mr Cardin stressed.

“So how can they operate? How can they do their work without the
government’s help and support?”

The Senate hearing also focused on implementation of the peace agreement,
whether it is withholding and what the international community should do to
support the efforts.

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