September 22, 2016 United States has hinted the possibility of recalling its current Ambassador to South Sudan over the ongoing “documented” atrocities committed by the leadership of South Sudan under her watch.
In a special hearing on South Sudan crisis by the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations conducted on Tuesday in Washington DC, chaired by Senator Bob Corker, the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, the senators registered their disappointment over the “impunity” conduct of the current U.S. Ambassador, Mary Catherine Phee.
They said the atrocities committed have been documented but with impunity involving other parties, including the ambassador. “Yeah, the suggestion, I think recalling our Ambassador for that kind of conduct would be an appropriate response to show that we don’t want to have a mission headed by an Ambassador with
impunity,” said Ben Cardin, a ranking member of the Committee, in reaction to earlier suggestion to recall the Ambassador.
Bob Corker, the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate, in his earlier remarks, also suggested whether or not the South Sudanese
President, Salva Kiir, should be declared a “war
criminal” over the atrocities.
Meanwhile, Senator Cardin, said he had lost
confidence in the peace process in South Sudan.
“I have lost confidence in the peace process…I
don’t believe the current leaders are capable of
bringing their country into peace,” he said,
referring to President Kiir and his new first deputy,
He also described the newly appointed First Vice
President, Taban Deng, as someone who has no
constituency in South Sudan is not able to heal the
“We haven’t talked about Mr. [Taban] Deng, who I
understand has no constituency. He is part of the
corrupt, the corruption that has been documented.
He is unpopular,” said the senior senator.
The Senators accused the South Sudanese rival
leaders, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, of committing
atrocities and failing their people.
The top U.S. senator also accused president Kiir’s
government of war crimes and attack on his rival,
Machar, in July which resulted to the recent
violence in the capital, Juba.
“As this crisis erupted in July, President Kiir’s
forces apparently fired on U.S. diplomatic vehicles,
shot and injured a U.N. official, terrorized
American and other aid workers, and executed a
South Sudanese journalist,” he said.
“President Kiir consolidated control after yet
another contrived military action against his former
deputy, Riek Machar. Kiir’s recent replacement of
Machar with a poorly-supported opposition
alternative likely invalidates the unity government
and the August 2015 peace agreement itself,”
charged the top U.S. Senator.
The Senators also blamed the United Nations
peace keepers in the country for not doing enough
to protect civilians from the government’s forces.
“Again, I don’t know how many times we’re going
to hear of our peacekeeping efforts falling short. I
know this is a unique circumstance but I believe
the U.N. has been totally feckless as it relates to
addressing this issue. Again, I know that these
people are overstretched right now in South Sudan,
but it continues to be a problem with U.N.
peacekeeping troops,” he said.
Witnesses who presented their respective
testimonies during the hearing include Jok Madut
Jok, Co-founder and Executive Director, The Sudd
Institute; The Honourable Kate Almquist Knopf,
Director, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, U.S.
Department of Defense; Luka Biong Deng, Global
Fellow, Peace Research Institute; and Peter Yeo,
President, Better World Campaign, United Nations
The Senators warned that a Plan B would be
needed to change the situation, including sanctions
against leaders, imposed arms embargo as well as
putting South Sudan under a trusteeship of the
African Union and the United Nations.