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United Nations  launches three-year co-
operation framework for South Sudan

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- The United Nations (UN) on Monday launched a three-year cooperation framework to help guide its activities in South Sudan.

UN officials said the 2019-2021 UN Cooperation Framework (UNCF) will serve as a strategic framework to guide the work of UN agencies in South Sudan in the next three years, succeeding the 2016-2018 Interim Cooperation Framework.

Alain Noudehou, deputy special representative of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, said the launch came at a moment of renewed hope in South Sudan with new opportunities.

Noudehou noted that for the aspirations of the UNCF to be successful, the peace process needs to hold, noting that the government needs to channel more investments into key areas of the new National Development Strategy (NDS).

The UN agencies in cooperation with their partners will implement the UNCF through building peace and strengthening governance; improving food security and recovering local economies; strengthening social services; and empowering women and youth.

Goc Makuach Mayol, deputy minister of South Sudan’s finance and economic planning, noted that the launch of the UNCF was timely as the government had recently launched its NDS.

“The government would establish coordination mechanisms to implement the NDS and government institutions would align their activities to this,” Mayol said.



South Sudan protests  United States sanctions on three individuals

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan on Monday protested fresh sanctions imposed by the United States on two South Sudanese and a retired Israeli military officer.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Dec. 14 imposed sanctions on the trio, accusing them of prolonging the five-year-old conflict in the east African nation by supplying weapons and profiting from the war.

The three are South Sudanese nationals Gregory Vasili and Obac William Olawo, and Israel Ziv, a retired Israel Defense Forces major general.

Mawien Makol, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called the latest sanctions “unjustified,” adding that they were meant to derail the recently signed peace agreement.

“Such acts does not serve well the good relations which the people and government of South Sudan always wish to exist between the two people and government,” Makol told reporters in Juba.

“The government of the Republic of South Sudan would like to register its concerns and protest in the strongest terms against these unjustified unilateral sanctions, and on other USA statements designed to undermine implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan,” Makol said.

South Sudan has been embroiled in over five years of conflict that has taken a devastating toll on the people, creating one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under United Nations pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government in April, but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and forced millions of others to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

The government and several armed factions signed another peace deal in September, and it appears to be holding as fighting has been reduced across the country.

Makol said the government is committed to the implementation of the new peace deal, adding that Juba is ready for diplomatic dialogue with the international community and the U.S. government to seek removal of the sanctions.

“The government of the Republic of South Sudan has endeavored to promote diplomatic dialogue with the government of the United States of America, and welcomes any proposals on improving bilateral relations, and requests the U.S administration to engage in a more positive manner, than doubling on threats of sanctions and embargoes, which serves no useful purpose,” Makol said.


South Sudan looks to China’s technical support to unlock agriculture potentials

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudanese are hoping to count on Chinese technical support to boost its agriculture sector as the country tries to cut over-reliance on hydrocarbons to revive a economy battered by five years of conflict.

Sebit Charles, a 45-year-old agricultural mechanic who recently attended a training program provided by five Chinese technicians at Kapuri agricultural technology transfer center in Juba, said unlocking South Sudan’s huge agricultural potentials requires investment in skills.

“I have benefited a lot in terms of skills because now I am able to operate and maintain the walking tractors and combined harvesters,” Sebit told journalists during an interview on Monday. “Definitely I am going to teach more people so that they also go and teach others.”

He said South Sudan needs to rely on technology to revive its agriculture, which has suffered setback due to conflict as well as crop pests and diseases.

Sebit can now operate several kinds of machines donated by the Chinese government to reinvigorate the agricultural sector and help guarantee a path to sustainable food security.

The 349 pieces of machinery donated by the Chinese government include grain combine harvesters, walking tractors, seeders, potato planters, and potato harvesters.

South Sudan hopes to be a regional food basket by implementing its five-year agricultural policy framework and a 25-year comprehensive agricultural master plan.

The country has vast arable land and 38 million livestock. Currently oil and mining dominates the economy in terms of revenues, accounting for 98 percent of the fiscal budget since the country’s independence from Sudan in 2011.

Acuil Atak, 50, a worker with the Aweil rice scheme run by Chinese technicians in the northern Aweil State, said he intends to go back to his hometown and train his colleagues on how to use some of the equipment.

“I want to train more people in our state,” Atak said, adding that 12 others from Aweil receiving training with the Chinese also hope to go back and train more people in their home state.

Atak hopes to visit China someday and learn more about its agriculture sector in the future.

Charles Sokiri, another trainee, said local farmers have been working with rudimentary tools to plough the land and that he hopes these state-of-the-art machines will help improve food production.

“These machines are very good because they are easy to operate and more of these types of machines should be brought to South Sudan,” he said. “We need more people to train with these machines because we need to attract many people into agriculture.”

Yang Mengjun, business manager of Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group, which conducted the training, said they are delighted to have trained South Sudanese on operation and maintenance of these machines and that they will continue training more people.

“This is just the beginning. We are here still to continue training and help more South Sudanese to acquire skills on using technology to improve the country’s agricultural productivity,” she said.

Onyoti Adigo Nyikuac, South Sudan’s minister of agriculture and food security, said these machines will help many people and also support the government’s bid to move away from the rain-fed agriculture to commercial farming.

He said the Kapuri agricultural technology transfer center needs to encourage more South Sudanese to acquire skills in research and innovation in agricultural sector.

Juma Stephen Lugga, Jubek state minister of agriculture, said this year, with a revitalized agreement ushering in peace, his state is aiming to increase food production.

“This year we want to produce much crops under this peace. We need to maximize these trained technicians so that more are trained,” Lugga said.



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