Juba, December 16, 2018 (SSNA) — An ex-general with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) who has been sanctioned by the United States for fueling South Sudan’s civil war by supplying weapons and ammunition to South Sudanese government and unnamed armed groups has denied the allegations, saying he is not surprised by the US move.
Major General Israel Ziv was sanctioned by Trump’s administration on December 14.
On Thursday, the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on Ziv and two South Sudanese officials, accusing the three men of carrying out activities that contributed to the prolongment of the conflict. The US says the Israeli former military official and a South Sudanese official Obac William Olawo control companies that illegally act as a front to smuggle weapons and ammunition to South Sudan and that Salva Kiir’s brother-in-law Gregory Vasili also participated in activities that contributed to the intensification of the war and other activities.
In an interview with an Israeli army radio obtained by the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA), Israel Ziv categorically denies all the allegations, saying the US is simply trying to enforce its foreign policy through him. Ziv told the radio station that he wants the United States to interview him and conduct a thorough investigation so that his name could be clear. The Israeli ex-general also states that the accusations are based on rumors. The General did not specify the rumors he thinks the US charges are based on.
“This is not the first time the US administration has used sanctions to enforce its foreign policy. I am approachable … I want to believe in the decency of the administration. And they are welcome to come, to check, to investigate. We will open up everything for them,” Ziv says.
Ziv also said he only run agricultural projects in South Sudan and that his works help a lot of local people and want the United States and other countries to go to South Sudan and witness his projects.
“We have an amazing agriculture project there … that many communities depend on. Tens of thousands of people are employed through this project and it feeds the South Sudan market. So anyone who claims this project is a cover should come to see it,” he explains.
The South Sudan News Agency has learned through a reliable source that Israel Ziv was constantly being tracked by Western intelligence agencies during his dealings with South Sudan’s government.
The United States says it will continue to target anyone or entity it deems as a threat to the people of South Sudan and the peace process.