ANNOUNCED US AID: South Sudan Cabinet Affairs minister Martin Elia Lomuro

South Sudan government has welcomed the United States decision to extend its military aid, saying it would help in consolidating ‘stability’ in the country and strengthening relations.

On Friday, President Barack Obama issued a decision to continue US military assistance to the troubled South Sudan despite the use of child soldiers in the troubled country.

The waiver circumvents the 2008 Child Soldiers Prevention Act, which is meant to block some military assistance to countries recruiting Childs in their armies.

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Cabinet Affairs Minister Martin Elia Lomuro described the policy shift as ‘the right thing to do’, adding that imposing arms embargo would have increased hostilities and limited military capabilities to strengthening combat operations.

Minister Lomuro, an ally of President Salva Kiir, said the move showed the ‘renewal of the partnership’ between the two countries, and vowed to step up efforts to implement the peace agreement to restore stability.

Obama also granted waivers to six other countries: Somalia, Congo, Nigeria, Rwanda, Iraq and Myanmar.

Gordon Buay, a senior diplomat at South Sudan embassy in the United States, also commended inclusion of South Sudan in the list of countries which would benefit from military assistance from the US.

The diplomat added that his government under President Salva Kiir remains committed to full implementation of the peace agreement reached with armed and political opposition to end the nearly three-year conflict in the country.

The inclusion of South Sudan in the renewal sparked mixed reactions from among South Sudanese, with some questioning the basis for inclusion of the country after the government has been accused of buying weapons to use against dissenting groups without distinguishing civilian areas.

The move also is seen as a sudden major shift from earlier plans advocated and supported by senior officials in the United States administration to impose arms embargoes and individual sanctions.

 

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