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US Envoy to South Sudan: Implement Peace Deal or Face Sanctions

FILE - South Sudan's President Salva Kiir sits with ex-vice president and former rebel leader Riek Machar before their meeting in Juba, South Sudan, Sept. 11, 2019.

The U.S. ambassador to South Sudan, Thomas Hushek, said the U.S. stands ready to impose more sanctions if President Salva Kiir's administration does not implement the deal to end South Sudan's civil conflict.

Hushek, speaking to reporters in Juba Tuesday, urged South Sudan’s leaders to focus on carrying out the September 2018 peace agreement and warned that U.S. sanctions may be strengthened if that does not happen.

Hushek seemed to bristle at Kiir's recent statement in which he said a unity government would be formed by a November deadline “with or without" opposition leader Riek Machar.

FILE - U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Thomas Hushek speaks at the US Embassy, in Juba, South Sudan, May 8, 2019.
FILE - U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Thomas Hushek speaks at the US Embassy, in Juba, South Sudan, May 8, 2019.

“What we all have when we see November 12, we don’t say ‘with or without.’ November 12 in our minds is implementing the peace agreement which is a unity government, including all the parties. So if you have one other party which is not moving on then you don’t have a unity government by definition of the peace agreement,” Hushek said.

He said all parties to the peace deal need to show more political will and resolve the remaining sticking points -- creation of a unified national army and agreement on the number of states and their boundaries.

“So far some of those have been very slow to come," he said, noting that "the government hasn’t put forward its pledged financial support for the process yet."

Hushek warned the U.S. remains on the lookout for spoilers of the peace process in South Sudan, adding that the U.S. executive order to sanction any official or individual blocking peace in South Sudan remains in effect.

“We don’t want ill-gotten gains to be finding its way into our financial systems. If a country finds out that money that was stolen from the people here by corrupt officials, if it’s being invested in the U.S., sometimes sanctions can help a country get those ill-gotten gains back,” he said.