JUBA, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan said on Friday the recently imposed sanctions by the United States on some of its officials undermines peace progress.

Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister of Information, accused Washington of obstructing the ongoing peace implementation process by imposing sanctions and visa restrictions on individuals it claims are failing the still-fragile peace process.

"The position of the American government is very clear, they are not for peace in South Sudan. Whenever they see progress happening in South Sudan they tend to dilute it," Makuei told journalists in Juba, after another meeting between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar.

Washington recently also recalled back Thomas Hushek, the envoy to South Sudan, for further consultations after Kiir and Machar failed to form the transitional unity government on Nov.12.

"If they want peace in South Sudan, there is no reason for them every time when we are making progress to come up with something to dilute whatever progress is being made," he added.

The U.S. has since 2017 slapped sanctions and travel restrictions on both government and opposition officials on the pretext that they have been fueling the five-year conflict and also obstructing implementation of the revitalized peace deal signed in September 2018 in Ethiopia.

Mike Pompeo, U.S Secretary of State on Thursday, said they will deny visas to individuals who undermine or impede the peace process in South Sudan.

Pompeo's remarks came in the wake of the recent travel restriction imposed by the U.S State Department on five South Sudanese intelligence officials accused of masterminding the 2017 kidnapping of two government critics in the Kenyan capital.

The U.S blames the five officials for the murder of Aggrey Idri, a member of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) led by Machar and Dong Samuel Luak a human rights lawyer in Juba which the government denies.

"Well, of course, that is the position of the American government they are free to decide on whatever to do but for us here we are not even interested in traveling," Makuei disclosed.

He added that the sanctions target the government officials but left out its critics like former army chief Paul Malong who was also sanctioned by the U.S to move freely without restrictions.

"If Americans were interested in peace implementation, they would have not been putting all these obstacles to obstruct the (peace) process, the paradox is that they are restricting others and meanwhile, Paul Malong whom they have sanctioned is now moving free and they are not questioning him," said Makuei.

South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013, after President Salva Kiir sacked his deputy Machar leading to fighting between soldiers loyal to the respective leaders.

Kiir and Machar are expected to form the transitional unity government in February 2020.

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