AU sanctions South Sudan over $9m membership debt

By Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
Source: africanews

The African Union (AU) has suspended South Sudan from the continental
body over failure to honour its financial obligations over the past
three years.

A letter from the country’s mission in Ethiopia to the Foreign Affairs
Ministry confirmed the development saying the amount in question came
up to over 9 million dollars. The Xinhua News Agency said the Ministry
had confirmed the suspension from the Addis Ababa-based body.

In clarifying the extent of the suspension, Hakim Edward, deputy
Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, said Juba’s AU membership attained in
July 2011 remained intact except that the country cannot participate
in AU meetings.

“We would like to confirm to the public that South Sudan is one of the
countries that have been sanctioned by the AU due to lack of yearly
financial contributions,” Edward said in a statement late last week.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to assure the public that
it is coordinating with the ministry of finance to resolve the matter
not only with the AU but with other regional bodies,” he added.

Local news outlet Eye Radio also reported that South Sudan has a lot
of unpaid arrears to regional, international, and global bodies it
subscribes to. The country is also yet to clear its arrears to the
East African Community to which it owes about 24 million dollars.

South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan on 9 July 2011, joined the
African Union on 27 July 2011, becoming the 54th member.

A year ago, the AU’s Peace and Security Council voted to suspend
neighbouring Sudan from all AU activities until a civilian government
has been formed. The decision followed violent military action against
pro-democracy activists who helped toppled the government of Omar

The council made the announcement after a meeting in Addis Ababa of
the member states of the pan-continental body. The country’s
membership was restored after the ruling military council and
opposition groups agreed to share power in a transition to democracy.