By Deng Machol
Juba – The South Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has confirmed reports of downsizing on the number of employees in South Sudan embassies abroad due to financial constraints.
Foreign Affairs Minister Nhial Deng Nhial said the move also affects the number of foreign missions since some of them will be closed down.
In 2015, South Sudan had 25 functioning embassies across the world, and had plans to open up more as a way of improving the country’s engagement and relations with other countries, followed the outbreak of political conflict on late December, 2013.But in the years later, the embassies experienced a reduction in the number of personnel, while others faced evictions over unpaid rent in abroad.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry said each foreign mission had between 20 to 25 staff -with non-essential workers, which increases salaries and other operational costs.The Foreign Affairs Ministry said it would continue to review the status of its 39 embassies and a consulate in Dubai before deciding on the number to be closed.
“Because of our resource constraints, we have had to cut back on our diplomatic representations abroad. We have decided that some of the missions will have to close down, other missions will have to witness a reduction in personnel,” said Minister Nhial, speaking on Friday at a function of the Ministry of Interior Affairs in Juba.
However, Nhial said that the reduction is temporary, adding that most government agencies have had to review their expenditures following the conflict in South Sudan.
‘These things are being done as a necessity because of the difficulties that the conflict has plunged South Sudan into. There are other factors beyond the control of South Sudan that have also negatively impacted our situation –not only in the ministry of foreign affairs, but all government agencies basically,” he said.
It is not clear how many foreign missions have been affected by the austerity measures.
Last month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sacked 40 overseas diplomats for reportedly not showing up for work over a prolonged period.
South Sudan returned into another civil war in 2013 after two years of her historical independence from Sudan regime after two decades of conflict. The fifth !- years brutal political conflict has claimed nearly 400, 000 lives and uprooted four million people from their homes, before devastated the world youngest country’s economy.
The parties to the conflict has signed several ceasefire and peace deal but has been violated within the months.
Latest the peace deal, Khartoum backing up was signed on September, 2018, as leaders promising to end the bloodshed and returning stability and calmness. The new transitional government is due to be form in November, 2019, return main opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar to his former position, which he held before conflict broke out.