By Adedapo Adesanya
The African Union (AU) has suspended South Sudan over failure to honour its financial obligations for the past three years, amounting to $9 million.
South Sudan will, however, remain a member of the Addis Ababa-based organization, but cannot participate in meetings until it clears its obligation.
In clarifying the extent of the suspension, Mr Hakim Edward, deputy Foreign Affairs spokesperson, said the country’s AU membership attained in July 2011 remained intact except that the country cannot participate in AU meetings.
“We would like to confirm to the public that South Sudan is one of the countries that have been sanctioned by the AU due to lack of yearly financial contributions,” Mr Edward said in a statement.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to assure the public that it is coordinating with the ministry of finance to resolve the matter not only with the AU but with other regional bodies,” he added.
It was reported by local media that South Sudan has a lot of unpaid arrears to regional, international, and global bodies it subscribes to. It was also reported, the country was also yet to clear its arrears to the East African Community to which it owes about $24 million.
South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan on July 9, 2011, joined the African Union on July 27, 2011, becoming the 54th member.
In 2019, the AU’s Peace and Security Council voted to suspend neighbouring Sudan from all AU activities until a civilian government has been formed. The decision followed violent military action against pro-democracy activists who helped toppled the government of Mr Omar Al-Bashir.
The council made the announcement after a meeting in Addis Ababa of the member states of the pan-continental body. The country’s membership was restored after the ruling military council and opposition groups agreed to share power in a transition to democracy.
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