Kiir seeks IMF backing to reverse embargo, vows to fight graft

Kiir seeks IMF backing to reverse embargo, vows to fight graft
President Salva Kiir (photo credit: Presidential Press Unit)

President Salva Kiir has appealed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international organisations to help reverse the arms embargo imposed on South Sudan.

The president made this call in a virtual interview with the Managing Director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, on Monday.

This is the second time the president has sought international support for the lifting of the arms embargo. Two weeks ago, Kiir made the same appeal during his meeting with a visiting delegation of the UN Security Council.

“While the agreement’s implementation progresses slowly, I would like to assure your Excellency of my resolve to fully implement it,” Kiir said.

“I equally call upon the IMF and other international organisations to support us on this path by considering the unconditional lifting of the arms embargo and other economic restrictions on South Sudan by our partners.”

The President assured the IMF boss of full implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

Fight against graft

He added that his government would fight against graft by ensuring that transparency and accountability are observed in all spheres of government services.

“South Sudan appreciates the IMF’s emergency support and policy advice, which allowed us to reduce salary arrears, help households, and strengthen our currency.

“It thus reinforced the government’s credibility, and enhanced public confidence,” the statement from the presidential press unit read in part.

“My government remains committed to transparency and accountability in the use of public resources. The Auditor-General, for example, has conducted the audit of the first disbursement and its findings and recommendations have been made public.”

Kiir further called for support from the IMF in building systems and blamed the conflict for weakening the capacity of various government institutions.

“The recent conflict has weakened our institutional capacity. We, therefore, urge the IMF to engage donors to support us in rebuilding systems.”

“Therefore, I will authorise my economic team to initiate a formal program negotiation on a multi-year fund supported arrangement, such as an Extended Credit Facility, to support our reform agenda,” Kiir stated.

The promise of disarmament

In his meeting with the delegates of the UN Security Council a few weeks ago, Kiir stressed that the lifting of the arms embargo would aid in the process of disarming civilians, who he said refused to surrender arms because they claimed that they bought them.

The president revealed the government’s plan to buy arms from civilians as the most successful means of carrying out disarmament.

Kiir stressed that disarmament was the viable solution to the existent communal conflicts, which led to atrocities committed against innocent civilians in the states.

The statement seen by The City Review said “President Salva Kiir Mayardit told the UN delegation that since the civilians are resisting the voluntary disarmament exercise because they used their money during the conflict to buy guns, he is thinking of an idea for the government to offer to buy off those guns from the civilians as a means of encouraging voluntary disarmament from the citizens, to collect those guns from the civilians and destroy them.”

He further urged the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) not to acquire information from the wrong sources and base their decisions on it.

Amnesty International published a report in May saying that the time was not ripe to lift the arms embargo due to possible repercussions stemming from volatility.

The report was published ahead of the UN Security Council’s polls scheduled for May 27, when the council was to decide on the future of the arms embargo.

“The report said the Security Council must ensure a range of human rights benchmarks are met before the embargo can be lifted,” read the report.

 “These include an end to crimes under international law, reform of the National Security Service, and the establishment of a hybrid court to ensure accountability.”

Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Sarah Jackson, disclosed that in ten (10) years of South Sudan’s independence, there had been no noticeable respect for human rights.

“South Sudan’s hard-won independence 10 years ago has sadly not resulted in respect for human rights. State security forces repress freedom of expression, including media freedoms, and both state security forces and armed groups continue to violate international humanitarian law, in some cases amounting to war crimes, with impunity, ” she said.

The South Sudanese government has been accused of failing to protect civilians from armed groups and militias that kill, displace, and rape women and girls.

Other accusations include the burning of villages, raping of young girls and boys, forced starvation as a war tactic, and targeted shooting of civilians, among others, which are said to have remained unpunished to date.