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US recalls ambassador from S. Sudan as rival leaders fail to form govt

US recalls ambassador from S. Sudan as rival leaders fail to form govt

The United States, a key supporter of South Sudan, is calling back its ambassador in Juba, Thomas Hushek, for consultations in frustration at the dueling leaders’ failure to form a government, AFP reported on Tuesday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter that he called back the ambassador “as we re-evaluate our relationship with the government of South Sudan.” The US “will work with the region to support efforts to achieve peace and a successful political transition in South Sudan,” he said.

The US contributes about $1 billion a year in mostly humanitarian aid to the young country. South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel chief Riek Machar fell out in 2013 – two years after the largely Christian nation won independence from Sudan with strong US support – sparking a conflict which has left hundreds of thousands dead.

The two leaders missed a November 12 deadline to form a unity government. African mediators gave them another 100 days, the second extension.