Kiir reaches out to Biden to rescind sanctions.

President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit speaking to the media/Juba: Office of the presidentPresident of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit speaking to the media/Juba: Office of the president

President Salva Kiir said his government has embarked on talks with the US for a possible lifting of economic sanctions.

In his speech read out by Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga during the graduation ceremony of the University of Juba on Saturday, President Kiir said his government was keen on having the sanctions lifted to improve the country’s economy.

“My government has initiated dialogue with President Biden’s administration to lift the economic sanctions and to increase his support for the peace process implementation,” President Kiir stated, adding, “Your government is working very hard to tackle the current economic challenges to improve the living standard of our citizens and combat the impact of climate change.”

Besides the economic sanctions, the president said the current impact of climate change had aggravated extreme flooding in many areas of the greater Upper Nile, Warrap, and Northern Bahr el Ghazal since 2019. He added that the extreme drought in Eastern Equatoria was another challenge his government was working hard to address.

However, as South Sudan’s penholder, the US administration has been influential in maintaining the UN Security Council’s arms embargo, targeted sanctions, and financial measures on South Sudan since the December 2013 civil wars, which the government attributed to the unabated suffering of its citizens.

To assess and possible lift restrictions on the world’s youngest nation, the council had set some benchmarks, including South Sudan’s demonstration of political will in the implementation of the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement, financial and security sector reform, and end of arms and subnational violence.

However, Kiir argued in his speech that the country’s security situation has significantly improved across the country, as attested to by UN agencies’ recent report, owing to the ongoing implementation of Chapter Two of the security arrangement.

“Your government is progressing well in the implementation of the revitalised peace agreement since August 2018.”

He added, “We have graduated the first batch of necessary unified forces of about 50,000 in Juba, Wau, and Malakal despite the many challenges that we face including a lack of financial resources and the impact of economic sanctions that have been imposed on our country since 2013.”

As he sought to demonstrate that the status quo had changed, the head of state cited a UN report detailing a decrease in the death rate of civilian populations as a result of rot in security.

“The unknown gunmen have disappeared by a great degree from our streets, and our citizens are able to stay up late and go about their lives without fear,” Kiir noted.

He pointed out that the implementation of the peace deal had ushered in security for the free movement of goods and services throughout the country, leading to reduced poverty and some improvement in the quality of life for our citizens.

“Our economy is predicted to grow this year 5.8 per cent according to a recent IMF focus. “And despite the financial challenges, our country has been able to go through the difficulty of economic sanctions, the high inflation impact of the Ukraine war on food and energy, and supplies, road construction projects are proceeding slowly but surely.”

Over 3,000 students from the University of Juba graduated at the Dr. John Garang Mausoleum on Saturday.

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