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South Sudan: U.S. Oil Sanctions Undermine Peace Efforts

U.S. sanctions on oil entities of South Sudan are counterproductive to efforts to bring stability and peace in the country, South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum said on Thursday, a day after the U.S. slapped sanctions on 15 South Sudanese oil-related entities.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of State imposed a license requirement on all exports, re-exports, and transfers of any U.S.-origin items to the 15 South Sudanese entities “whose revenues have contributed to the ongoing crisis in South Sudan.”

“Unfortunately, the South Sudanese Government, and corrupt official actors, use this revenue to purchase weapons and fund irregular militias that undermine the peace, security, and stability of South Sudan rather than support the welfare and current emergency food needs of the South Sudanese people,” Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press statement on Wednesday.

South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum said today that it was committed to “work closely with the U.S. Department of Commerce and take all possible measures to remove these restrictions and resume normal relations with the U.S.”

“The oil and gas sector is a foundation of the economy and depends on international technology imports. Existing petroleum operations will not be affected, as materials are not currently being imported from the U.S.,” the ministry said, noting that it would continue to invite investment in its oil industry.

South Sudan produces some 135,000 bpd of oil and hopes to double its oil production over the next 12 months, its Oil Minister Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said in December last year.

Related: Legal Risks Jeopardize World's Largest IPO

Earlier this month, an NGO investigative initiative said in a report that South Sudan’s leaders are using oil revenues—the country’s main source of income—to get rich and terrorize civilians.

In recent months, the U.S. and the international community have tightened sanctions on South Sudan in response to the continued destabilization in the country. The U.S. sanctioned in September 2017 South Sudanese government officials for their role in undermining peace and stability. Then last month, the U.S. imposed a weapons embargo, “appalled by the continuing violence in South Sudan that has created one of Africa’s worst humanitarian crises.”  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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