South Sudan: foreign heads task with redeeming a country’s image

The world has an image of war when it comes to South Sudan

By Deng Machol

Juba – South Sudan has started a foreign policy offensive as it seeks to recover an image damaged by five-years of conflict.

Last week, the country was launched a draft foreign policy during the ambassadors’ conference under the theme: “Empowering and enhancing the foreign policy of the reconstituted for the reconstituted government of national unity (TGONU)” which is expected to be formed next month.

The draft aims at discussing and deliberating on issues facing diplomacy and foreign affairs. All South Sudan heads of mission abroad were present during the conference.

Addressing the diplomats and ambassadors of South Sudan, Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga said President Salva Kiir was urging all heads of mission abroad to restore the good image of the country.

“We have to promote our interest by using peaceful means on foreign policy,” said Dr. Igga. “It is high time for our diplomacy and foreign policy to be more vigorous, effective on the region and international level as the country is going to open a new page and form a government in the coming month of November.”

South Sudan got her independence in 2011 from Sudan after a decades of civil war but the Africa youngest nation did not develop any foreign policy to protect a country’s national interests.

 Following the five-year conflict that was erupted in late 2013, the image of South Sudan is said to have been tainted by kleptocracy, civil war and lack of political will in President Kiir to end the conflict and develop the country.

In regards to foreign policy altered, in early 2018, the former top US diplomat Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council that her country was giving up on President Kiir for failing to end the violence in the country. She also said President Kiir had become an unfit partner to the US for prolonging the war and the suffering of the people of South Sudan.

However, the vice president also said diplomats should work towards ensuring that sanctions on South Sudan are lifted.

“Number three is, restoration of our good image, confidence and trust of the regional and international community to make our country once again attractive for investors across the world,” Dr Igga said on behalf of the President.

The foreign ministry is facing some financial issues for smoothly running of their affairs, but vice president says they need to be resolved quickly so that there are no accuses from ambassadors to carry out their missions.

Meanwhile, the minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Awut Deng said the event aimed to help shape the foreign policy and diplomacy and to counter challenges that might come after formation of the unity government.

“Our diplomacy and foreign policy needs to be more effective and so as to cope and match with the change that is currently spreading through the whole of the region and the entire world,” said Awut.

She further said the country is ready to cooperate with the world countries in order to achieve its interests peacefully and objectively.

“We are ready to cooperate with the countries in the world to achieve our interests peacefully as we enter a new era of our history,” she added.

This was ever the first conference on foreign policy to be held in South Sudan since independence. The conference was attended by heads of 29 South Sudan missions abroad and foreign diplomats.

After the deliberation of the draft foreign policy it will be submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval.

South Sudan is now implementing a new peace that aims to ending the conflict and to revamp foreign relations.

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