September 15, 2021 (JUBA) – A leading South Sudanese opposition politician says is practically “unrealistic” for the country’s foreign policy to be fixed in 300 days as suggested by newly appointed Foreign Affairs minister, Mayiik Ayii Deng.
- Lam Akol (Photo Reutrers)
Lam Akol, who heads the National Democratic Movement (NDM), wondered how the minister seeks to rebrand foreign policies without involving other institutions.
“Someone should remind the new minister some basics of foreign policy and international relations. First, in his speech to the staff of the Ministry he promised “rebranding our domestic image as an extension of our foreign policy agenda! It is the other way around, Mr. Minister. MFA [Ministry of foreign Affairs] doesn’t “rebrand” domestic policy. It is the mandate of the government to design the government’s programme or policy including foreign policy which is a reflection (say, extension) of the domestic policy,” he explained.
The outspoken opposition politician said the mandate of the Foreign Affairs ministry, like other ministries, is to formulate policies to be implemented once adopted.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not be implementing policies of its own, but those approved by the cabinet. Secondly, however brilliant MFA can be in advancing foreign policy perspectives of the government in interacting with the club of nations, nothing can be achieved if the domestic utterances and actions of the government continue to be objectionable”, he stated.
Akol specifically cited the respect for human rights, all kinds of freedoms, including speech, association, movement as well as to assemble as necessary to delink and help in lifting sanction imposed on government by various international institutions.
“Honest implementation of the peace agreement, etc, are central in the consideration of many influential states in determining how to relate to the government of South Sudan. If these aspects continue to send out negative news and signals, there is nothing the MFA can do to reverse the situation. Another example is the series of sanctions which had been imposed by the UNSC on government officials and the arms embargo on the government itself,” stressed Akol.
He added, “The lifting of these sanctions and embargo is hinged on certain policy issues as benchmarks that could lead to the lifting. They have been specified in relevant UNSC resolutions. None of these benchmarks is the work of the MFA alone”.
Last week, President Salva Kiir fired Foreign Affairs minister, Beatrice Khamisa and replaced her with Deng who served as Presidential Affairs minister till June 2020.
Speaking during his acceptance speech of the new assignment on Friday last week, Deng said guidance of the president would help overcome challenges facing his ministry.
“I acknowledge the appointment and appreciate your trust bestowed upon me as a Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. It’s quite a challenging task amidst a number of pressing issues. I promise with your guidance, we will win over,” said Deng in his statement seen by the Sudan Tribune.
He, however, said despite the signing of the revitalized peace deal, there is need to improve relations with the international community and deal with the “geopolitics of liberal international order” which remains a big challenge for the coalition government.