World
U.S. lawmakers, frustrated by South Sudan violence, question aidPublish Date: Jan 16, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img

WASHINGTON- U.S. lawmakers expressed deep frustration on Wednesday over the wave of violence in South Sudan, questioning whether it made sense for Washington to continue sending hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the fledgling democracy.

Four weeks of fighting, often along ethnic lines, has been ringing alarm bells in Washington over the prospect that the conflict could spiral into full-blown civil war, spawning atrocities or making South Sudan the world's next failed state.

U.S. Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the latest fighting "infuriating," and blamed it largely on South Sudanese leaders' unwillingness to build an inclusive state.

"It appears that the greatest threat to South Sudan post-independence is South Sudan itself," the California Republican said at a hearing on the turmoil.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a similar hearing last week, at which lawmakers from that chamber similarly said the country risks losing U.S. aid if its government and rebels do not end a wave of violence.

Washington has spent billions of dollars - congressional aides estimated $600 million per year - to help build the fledgling nation, including allowing weapons sales to its government and providing security training for its armed forces.

Unlike many African countries, South Sudan enjoys the strong interest of a broad range of U.S. lawmakers, who backed the push by largely Christian and African southern Sudan to split from Muslim- and Arab-dominated northern Sudan and form the world's youngest state three years ago.

HEARING FROM CONSTITUENTS

But both Republicans, who hold the majority of seats in the House, and Democrats, who hold a majority in the Senate, are now questioning that support.

"We're starting to hear it more and more in our districts, that we've put so much time, attention, money into this situation ... and the outcomes seem to be terrible," said Representative Juan Vargas, a California Democrat.

Republican Representative Ted Yoho of Florida said Washington would do better to emulate China, which does not donate to South Sudan as the United States does, but is nonetheless the country's largest trading partner with major stakes in its oil industry.

U.S. officials said President Barack Obama's administration is putting pressure on both sides as well as on South Sudan's neighbors to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict.

"Neither the United States nor the international community will accept the armed overthrow of the democratically elected government of South Sudan," said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for African Affairs.

She said the international community is looking at options, including sanctions against individuals deemed responsible for the crisis, to hold accountable anyone responsible for human rights violations or blocking efforts to achieve peace.

"They are on both sides, within the government as well as those anti-government forces," she said.

The fighting since Dec. 15 has pitted President Salva Kiir's SPLA government forces against rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, bringing the oil-exporting country close to civil war.

At least 1,000 people have been killed, with some estimates as high as 10,000, and more than 200,000 have been displaced. Oil exports - key to South Sudan's economy - have plummeted, adding to regional instability.

On Wednesday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni admitted for the first time to helping Kiir fend off the rebellion. Museveni said Ugandan troops had this week helped defeat rebels outside Juba, and some had been killed in battle. Museveni also blamed Machar for turning political differences into a military confrontation.
 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
US lifts Israel flight ban as Kerry cites truce
US airlines lifted a flight ban to Israel Thursday as Washington's top diplomat cited progress in ending 17 days of bloodshed in Gaza which has killed 718 Palestinians....
Executed man
A death row inmate being executed in Arizona took nearly two hours to die, prison officials said Wednesday....
U.N. chief names Danish diplomat new envoy to South Sudan
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday named Danish diplomat Ellen Margrethe Loj as his new special envoy to South Sudan and head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission...
OSCE finds
MONITORS from the European security body OSCE and Malaysian inspectors on Wednesday found parts of the fuselage of the downed Malaysian flight MH17...
China detains five in expired meat scandal
Chinese police have detained five people from a unit of US food supplier OSI Group in a case involving expired meat....
Bill Clinton: Perpetrators of MH17 crash sought a divided world
The former US president has called for strength in responding to the downing of flight MH17, declaring that those who shot down the plane sided with a brutal vision of the world....
Should government review powers of kings?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter