The South Sudan Foreign Policy

By Amb. Dhano Obongo

August 19, 2013 (SSNA) — The South Sudan’s foreign policy outlook exhibits confident neutrality. If the cold war period continued, we would be part of the nonaligned block of nations. Under current international conditions, South Sudan leans toward neither of the big power house nations, China or the United States of America in international or regional altercations.

During the current process of nation building, South Sudan may fall short of an ideal foreign policy. It may be that, the new nation will face challengers in improving foreign policy in some areas.

Since our Independence procalmination on July 9, 2011, our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has developed and promulgated a commendable foreign policy document. , Our new Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Honorable. Barnaba M. Benjamin, will take us to the promise land of good foreign policy both regionally and globally.

The South Sudan foreign policy is clearly defined in many major themes including:

1. Zero tolerance with neighboring countries including the Republic of Sudan.

2. Being “proudly African” in promoting African unity, solidarity, and cooperation

3. Nonalignment and balance in our bilateral relations with China and the USA.

Our foreign policy should be a mechanism for achievement of the South Sudan’s domestic national goals .The government of South Sudan and its ruling political wing, the SPLM party, takes justified pride in attaining independence for the beloved people of South Sudan. Our dignity has been designed into the South Sudan’s foreign policy; however the South Sudan must maintain itself as a partner in the regional and global politics.

In the global arena, the South Sudan should pursue a foreign policy with an unbiased and an unlocked gate to other countries. Our objective should assure collaboration with any country which may be interested in assisting our economic and social development. Reciprocity principles of mutual benefit as well as no meddling in our sovereignty affairs are mandatory.

Economic and social development is top priority challenges facing our beloved new nation.  Our foreign policy must reflect this imperative.   Our new nation needs technical aid and economic help from the international and regional community for South Sudan to tackle development issues following independence.

As stipulated in our South Sudan foreign policy, friendliness is our objective.   Military confrontation is unnecessary except for cases of aggression or self defense requirements. There are challenges along the boundary with the Republic of Sudan, however close cooperation with the African Union and other regional bodies will foster economic and political development. 

South Sudan wants to persuade neighbors including the Republic of Sudan that peaceful growth founded on mutual benefit and respect is our amicable goal which will flow from zero tolerance. We do need economic collaboration with other countries to foster domestic development.  

The Future Path

After independent two years ago, two weeks ago, our beloved President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, appointed the Honorable Barnaba M. Benjamin as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.   He is a competent and experienced diplomat. What are the expectations of the public from him? The people expect him to implement new diplomatic strategy and translate the confidence of the president into action.    The high hopes for the future will be evidenced in his moving into worldwide contact and being on the road to implement foreign policy.

In forming his cabinet recently, the President has stressed zero tolerance of public corruption, tribalism, and nepotism. This is excellent domestic policy. It is said that “the good domestic policy is the extension of foreign policy’. May God bless the people of South Sudan and our new nation.

Ambassador Dhano Obongo is the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan in Washington, DC. He can be reached via Email: obongo _dhano@

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