South Sudan president Salva Kiir said his country was being punished by western powers for not paying for their support in the long civil war against neigbouring Sudan.
The South Sudanese leader said it is a culture among African people to pay back without being reminded of the support they received from those who provided needed support and the time of need.
“The country is suffering today because of the punishment we are getting from western countries. They think they support they gave during the war of liberation struggle is not being returned,” Kiir told members of the African Union Peace and Security Council last week.
He added, “And they [western powers] have asked me several times in private meetings with their business representatives that whether we still remember those who stood by our [South Sudan] side during the war and how we intend to recognize their role”.
The president did not, however, name any of these western powers he hinted on.
Kiir, a former rebel commander, said he and his colleagues are aware of the support the western powers and African leaders had given the people of South Sudan during different times, but stressed that the continuation of ongoing civil war did not necessarily mean his government does not recognize and appreciate western support.
“We know countries in the west and in Africa which stood by our side during the war. We have mentioned them in our functions and through formal engagement and when writing to them on official and private matters. We do this because we value the support they gave us but this does not mean they teach us how to recognize and appreciate the support,” further stressed the South Sudanese leader.
“It is an African culture and traditions that one returns what he received from the giver without being told to pay back. Because of this, we tell our friends in the west to not take side in a dispute between the same people, brothers and sisters”, he added.
The South Sudanese civil war is an ongoing conflict in South Sudan between forces of the government and opposition forces. In December 2013, President Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar and ten others of attempting a coup d’état.
The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions of the country’s about 12 million population.