South Sudan: Government Frustrated with US Oil Sanctions

By Deng Machol

Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan Information Minister & Gov. Spokesman and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, South Sudan Minister of Petroleum
Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan Information Minister & Gov. Spokesman and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, South Sudan Minister of Petroleum

The South Sudan government is regretting  the US President Trump’s administrations’ sanctions on the country’s oil entities, allegedly accused of fueling the ongoing civil war.

On Wednesday, the US government places 15 oil-related institutions on “black list” over prolong civil war, include the state-owned Nilepet, Dar Petroleum, Sudd Petroleum, and GNPOC, and government ministries of petroleum and mining respectively.

Targets companies are revenues generating institutions for the government, includes the companies in the oil fields.

Trump Administration said this restrictions will force the government and companies to show that the country’s oil will benefit its people and not enrich corrupt elites or fuel violence.

U.S. sanctions on oil entities of South Sudan are counterproductive to efforts to bring stability and peace in the country

Country’s Information Minister Michael Makuei says President Kiir’s government doesn’t agree with the United States latest sanctions on oil entities.

He argued that this sanctions was designed to exorcized the government lead by President Kiir

“For them to come up with such sanction is not strange and it is not new but definitely we don’t agreed with that because after all we are nation – we are sovereign state  – and as such at least we should be respected on that matter,” Makuei told the Pan African Visions.

“It is not against the companies but it is against the government because if you sanctioned government’s ministry then what have you done,” he added.

According to Information Minister, the US made [it] to cripple his country’s economic within the shorter possible period so that the institutions’ collapse – this is their objectives, Makuei said.

Makuei, however categorically denied using oil revenues to fuel war.

“The revenue which is now being raised from the oil is not even sufficient for our salaries. After all, what war are we fighting now?” Makuei asked.

The U.S. and other companies will now need a license to export, re-export, or transfer exports of any U.S.-origin goods or technology to the listed entities.

Officials said US should open a door negotiation if there is a problem instead of bombed a young nation with a sanctions.

Makuei further pointed out that Juba’s relationship with Washington is in sour due to continue sanctions from Trump’s administration.

“This idea of America being a close friend to South Sudan is longer in the place now. I doubt if American is still holding to that friendship because if you [US] are holding to that friendship then there is no reason why you should proceeded directly with a sanction without coming first to your friend and says my friend why are you do this suffering – and people will sit and understands – this is how friend [s] conduct themselves,” Makuei said.

The US based think-tank, Enough Project on Wednesday said the move is an important step towards pressuring the government as the third phase of the Revitalization Forum approaches.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum said that it was committed to “work closely with the U.S. Department of Commerce and take all possible measures to remove these restrictions and resume normal relations with the U.S.”

“The oil and gas sector is a foundation of the economy and depends on international technology imports. Existing petroleum operations will not be affected, as materials are not currently being imported from the U.S.,” the ministry said, noting that it would continue to invite investment in its oil industry.

Earlier this month, the Sentry published an investigative brief that sheds light on how South Sudanese elites are exploiting the country’s oil to fund militias and enrich themselves.

The Global Witness also published a similar report accusing the state oil company Nilepet and the Ministry of Petroleum of using oil revenues to fund war.

All suggested sanctions against individuals and entities involved.

The U.S. sanctioned in September 2017 South Sudanese government officials for their role in undermining peace and stability. Then last month, the U.S. imposed a weapons embargo, “appalled by the continuing violence in South Sudan that has created one of Africa’s worst humanitarian crises.”

South Sudan produces some 135,000 bpd of oil per a day and hopes to double its oil production over the next months.

This sanctions comes at time the third phrase of the high revitalization forum approaches, which all the warring parties allegedly said they will compromise to stop bloodshed and suffering.

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