Ms Nikki Haley, the United States permanent representative to the United Nations, says time for talking is over and that South Sudan President Salva Kiir must act to serve all South Sudanese if he is to regain the trust of Washington.
“I didn’t come here to talk. I came here to say the time for action is now. We are not waiting anymore; we need to see a change and we need to see it right away,” the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Spokesperson quotes the diplomat to have said on a visit to its base outside Juba.
She, according to the statement, adds: “We have lost trust in this (South Sudan) government and we now need to regain that trust. The only way to regain that trust is through the actions of taking care of all of the people. President Kiir is the president of everyone, not just one tribe, not just one group. In order to be a leader you have to be willing to take care of all of your people.”
The South Sudan leader is from the dominant Dinka tribe. A political disagreement between him and sacked vice President-turned rebel commander Riek Machar, a Nuer, in 2013 spiralled into a full-blown ethnicised civil war.
That conflict has displaced millions, with Uganda hosting one million South Sudan refugees, according to UN refugee agency figures.
Ambassador Haley began a whirlwind tour of Africa on Monday with a trip to Ethiopia before proceeding to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is Trump administration’s topmost diplomat to visit the continent.
The US Department of State announced prior that the trip was intended to give her an opportunity for in-person assessment of the situation is trouble hotspots and the work of UN peace-keepers in Africa.
In South Sudan capital, Juba, Ambassador Haley held “frank talks” with President Kiir and visited UNMISS to see for herself the plight of some 33,000 people displaced by on-going violence.
After the Wednesday visit to the UNMISS base, Ambassador Haley tweeted: “Sad but inspiring day in S Sudan. We felt the pain & passion of the ppl. A govt that doesn’t respect all of its ppl can’t be sustained.”
Ambassador Haley spoke at the UNMISS base after talks with President Kiir. Her terse proclamations underline America’s frustration over the collapse of South Sudan which it, as a Troika member alongside Norway and the United Kingdom, worked hard with other actors to carve out as an independent state.
It remains unclear what President Kiir told the Trump envoy in response to the criticisms. In an interview with the Washington Post, published on October 15, 2017, the South Sudan President said criticism against him is based on misinformation propagated by rivals and social media users.