The United States recalled its ambassador to South Sudan after leaders of formerly warring factions failed to agree on a unity government, the US State Department said.
Ambassador Thomas Hushek will return for consultations “as part of the re-evaluation of the US relationship with the government of South Sudan given the latest developments,” the department said in a statement.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Washington would “work with the region to support efforts to achieve peace and a successful political transition in South Sudan.”
South Sudan’s ministry of foreign affairs was engaging with the United States.
“Our position is the same. We are still engaging and have a good relationship,” spokesman Mawien Makol told Reuters.
He said differences over the extension of time to form a unity government “should not break our relations. The extension is meant to fully implement the peace agreement.”
After a devastating five-year civil war, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar signed a peace deal in September 2018, under pressure from the United Nations, the United States and regional governments.
On November 7, they agreed to give themselves 100 days more beyond a November 12 deadline to form the unity government. Washington was “gravely disappointed”.
The conflict started when Kiir sacked Machar as vice president. It killed an estimated 400 000 people, triggered a famine and created Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.