ADDIS ABEBA – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two South Sudan minister for undermining the peace process in the country.
The US Treasury accuses the minister of cabinet affairs, Martin Elia Lomuro, of recruiting militias to attack opposition forces, and Defense and Veterans Affairs minister Kuol Manyang Juuk of using troops and weapons from the South Sudanese army to attack a rival ethnic group, according to the BBC.
The U.S. Treasury alleges that both men blocked the establishment of a court to try war crimes.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates continued U.S. commitment to promote accountability of those whose actions threaten the implementation of the South Sudanese peace process,” says the U.S. government in a statement.
“The United States stands ready to impose other measures against any who seek to expand the conflict and derail peace efforts in South Sudan,” it adds.
The statement also claims says South Sudanese deserve leaders who are committed to laying the groundwork for “a successful, peaceful political transition”.
“We urge the Government of South Sudan and opposition leaders to distance themselves from peace process spoilers and to make the compromises necessary to form an inclusive unity government by the extended deadline,” it continues. “Sanctions are not permanent measures and may be lifted if sanctioned individuals demonstrate measurable support of the peace process in South Sudan”.
The latest sanctions come as Washington is reevaluating its relationship with the African nation after South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar agreed in November to give themselves more time to form a unity government.
Image: The US Treasury Department accused Elia Lomuro (L) and Kuol Manyang Juuk (R) of perpetuating the conflict by obstructing the peace process [Reuters]