US urges South Sudan to quickly form new cabinet

AFP , Thursday 25 Jul 2013

President Salva Kirr holding talks over new government after sacking his entire team on Tuesday

South Sudan must move quickly to form a new government or risk even greater instability, a top US official said after the country's president fired his whole cabinet.

President Salva Kiir, leader of the world's newest nation, was holding talks Thursday aimed at setting up a new government two days after sacking his entire team in a sign of the political in-fighting in Juba.

The move has alarmed the United States, the main backer of the impoverished nation, and State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki warned of the "risk to stability" posed by the decision.

"The United States calls on all parties to maintain calm and prevent violence, and on the government of South Sudan to quickly and transparently form a new cabinet," she said in a statement late Wednesday.

"We encourage South Sudan do so in a manner that reflects the diversity of the South Sudanese people, and that respects its transitional constitution and the democratic ideals the new country has espoused."

In a series of decrees signed late Tuesday, Kiir sacked his 28 ministers and their deputies and announced his next government would consist of fewer ministries.

Many of the ministers were key figures in the rebel SPLM or its armed wing that fought a brutal 1983-2005 war against the government of Sudan, which led to a 2011 referendum in which South Sudan voted overwhelmingly to split from the north.

But there has been lingering upheaval since the birth of the new nation, amid a series of internal conflicts and continued fighting with Sudan over disputed territories.

"During this time of grave challenges, it is critical that South Sudan stay true to the vision it laid out for itself two years ago at its independence," Psaki said.

And she added "that vision can only be realized through sustained commitment to democracy and good governance, justice... and the respect for rule of law."

Short link: