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South Sudan say sanctions embolden rebels' stall at peace talks

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- U.S. sanctions on the South Sudanese government are emboldening rebels to stall at peace talks, a South Sudanese official said on Saturday.

Speaking to local and foreign media in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, James Morgan, South Sudan Ambassador to Ethiopia and the AU, said U.S. "meddling" in the form of arms embargo and individual sanctions on South Sudan government officials have made attaining peace in South Sudan difficult.

Morgan said that the South Sudanese government is ready to accept peace proposals that accept South Sudan’s constitutional process.

Morgan further said the government is prepared to accommodate proposals that bridge gaps with the rebels, such as reforming the composition of the army and on parliamentary representation.

On Wednesday, Brian Shukan, Director of the Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, U.S. Department of State, said the U.S. government is willing to increase pressure on South Sudan warring sides to reach deal to end the civil war that is inching towards its 5th year.

His comment came shortly after the latest round of South Sudan peace talks in Addis Ababa failed to produce an agreement among the various warring sides in the civil war.

Already, the U.S. has imposed arms embargo and several rounds of targeted sanctions on current and former South Sudanese officials in the form of asset freezes and travel bans.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013, after a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Machar led to split in the army, leaving soldiers to fight alongside ethnic lines.

Since then the country has been embroiled in a conflict that has taken a devastating toll on the people, creating one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.


Ethiopia’s continued role "vital" in South Sudan peace talks: official

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia should continue its "vital role" in South Sudan peace talks, a South Sudanese official said on Saturday.

Speaking to Xinhua, James Morgan, South Sudan Ambassador to Ethiopia and the AU, said his government and people appreciate neighboring Ethiopia for hosting peace talks ever since civil war broke out in December 2013.

South Sudan descended into violence in December 2013, after a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Machar led to split in the army, leaving soldiers to fight alongside ethnic lines.

"African problem should be solved by African people, we don’t need to invite outsiders from outside Africa to solve our issues, Ethiopia is playing that role," said Morgan.

He further said while South Sudan government appreciates Ethiopia for hosting more than a half million South Sudanese refugees, Ethiopia’s continued role in South Sudan peace talks also ensures the South Sudan civil war doesn’t spill over to Ethiopia.

With South Sudan only gaining independence from Sudan in July 2011, becoming the world’s youngest nation, Morgan said assistance and advice from Ethiopia which is one of Africa’s oldest nations is much appreciated.

"As a young nation there are a lot of stumbling blocks ahead of us, we will count on Ethiopia to guide us and lead us in the process," said Morgan.

Ethiopia has hosted several rounds of South Sudan peace talks ever since civil war broke out in South Sudan more than four years ago.

Ethiopia is also a key player in the East African Bloc, The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) that is mediating an end to the conflict between South Sudan warring sides.

Ethiopia was also host to a peace agreement signed in August 2015, between South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his ex-deputy Riek Machar.

Renewed fighting in July 2016, however, led to the weakening of the agreement with South Sudan government and rebels accusing each other of restarting the hostilities.

Nine South Sudan refugees arrested in northwest Uganda

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- At least nine South Sudanese refugees have been arrested for leading riots and damaging humanitarian agencies equipment over alleged delay of food ration supply in the northwestern district of Arua, police said in a statement on Friday.

Josephine Angucia, West Nile regional police spokesperson, said the suspects on Wednesday mobilized fellow refugees to riot, damage and steal humanitarian agencies data equipment at Omugo Refugee Settlement over alleged failure to provide relief food items for the last one month.

She said the refugees broke into the stores of United Nations World Food Program stores, stealing food items, wheel barrows, hoes, slashers, three computers, tarpaulin and spray cans.

"When police swung into action, the riots were stopped. Nine suspects were arrested and detained at Yoro base camp police station pending transfer to Arua CPS (Central Police Station)," said Angucia.

At least 11 wheelbarrows, 11 hoes, 9 slashes, some electric items and computer accessories have been recovered, according to the police.

"Refugees are advised to use proper channels of sharing their grievances through their leaders to the concerned authorities instead of taking the law into their hands," said Angucia.

"When some continue to misbehave and not abide by our laws and procedures, they will be arrested and prosecuted according to Ugandan laws," she said.

In October, 2017, South Sudan refugees at Nyumanzi Refugee Settlement in the neighboring district of Adjumani, which hosts over 20,000 people, protested over delayed food supply.

Last year, WFP announced a food aid cut by 50 percent to hundreds of thousands of refugees in the East African country due to financial constraints.

South Sudan weather agency warns of devastating flood risk

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan’s Meteorological Department has warned that several regions in the East African country are at risk of floods caused by torrential rains.

The weather agency told reporters on Thursday that heavy rainfall is expected in the months of June, July and August (JJA) and may cause devastating floods in the flood-prone areas of Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile and Unity.

Samuel Thon, a Forecaster at the Meteorological Department, said the towns of Bor, Bentiu, Aweil, and Pibor are particularly at high risk of floods.

"JJA (June, July and August) 2018 rainfall forecast indicates increased likelihood for flooding in the flood prone areas for example Bor, Bentiu, Aweil, Pibor and Upper Nile States plus other flood prone areas.

"So we are expecting floods because the rainfall is much," Thon said.

According to South Sudan’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Risk Management, several regions in the country are prone to recurrent floods every year in the rainy season, between May and October, which threatens the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people.

Last year, torrential rains forced over 100,000 people from their homes and destroyed valuable property in central and northern South Sudan.

East Africa bloc says new cyclone poses no threat to Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The East Africa bloc’s weather prediction centre said on Saturday that an active tropical cyclone named Mekunu does not pose any threat to Somalia as it had earlier warned.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD)’s Center for Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC), which is closely monitoring the situation, said the tropical cyclone Mekunu is now located off the coast of Yemen and is causing heavy rainfall and flooding in the region.

ICPAC said the latest forecast from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model run at ICPAC indicates a weakening of the tropical storm as it landfalls over Yemen.

"However, it poses no threat to Somalia as the expected rainfall is light (less than 20 mm in three days; and the winds are not strong (less than 20 m/s," ICPAC said in an alert.

The regional bloc’s weather prediction centre said the tropical cyclone is also expected to move westward along the coast after it made landfall in Yemen.

The bloc had warned that as the cyclone progresses north, parts of the cyclone circulation and associated clouds and rains will hit along the coast of Somalia.

ICPAC said it is monitoring the situation and will issue updates to this forecast daily for the next few days.

The cyclone comes after a powerful tropical cyclone with winds in excess of 120 km/per hour and an entire year’s worth of rain which landed in Somalia on May 19 left destruction

and death in its wake in Somaliland, endangering the lives of thousands of children in the region.

According to the charity, Cyclone Sagar tore through the coastal north of the country, destroying homes and livelihoods in its wake.

According to Somaliland authorities, at least 25 people have been killed, 27 others are missing and hundreds of homes destroyed following tropical cyclone Sagar that caused heavy rains and flooding in Somaliland.



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