South Sudan’s government has promised to pay nearly $6 million dollars it owes the African Union (AU) in annual membership fee arrears.
Last week, the African Union sanctioned South Sudan after the national government in Juba failed to pay its annual contributions.
In an interview with media from Addis Ababa on Tuesday, James Morgan, South Sudan ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union, said they are working to settle all arrears in one week’s time.
The South Sudanese diplomat said the sanctions do not deprive South Sudan of its AU membership but it only blocked the country from participating effectively in AU meetings.
“We would like to tell the public that our membership is active, we are only sanctioned. You can attend the AU meetings but you will not talk, even if it’s your country’s problem that’s being discussed,” said Morgan. “The membership of South Sudan remains active, and nobody can suspend our membership.”
Ambassador Morgan affirmed that the National Ministry of Finance is working to resolve the matter by paying the country’s annual contributions to the African Union.
“South Sudan has delayed in remitting its share of contributions to the AU for two years. Every year we pay like 3 million US dollars, so we are going to pay that amount because we delayed for two years,” Morgan explained.
The South Sudanese ambassador defended South Sudan’s delay in paying its financial contributions to the continental body, saying the government of South Sudan has prioritized the implementation of the September 2018 peace agreement.
Meanwhile Hakim Edward, Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson, confirmed South Sudan had been sanctioned by the African Union after it failed to pay its annual contributions.
“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 issued last week.
South Sudan became the 54th member of the African Union on July 27, 2011.