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South Sudan Country to cut embassy staff due to cash crunch

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A man arrives to register for a passport or a temporary travel document at the South Sudanese Embassy in Khartoum April 9, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer play A man arrives to register for a passport or a temporary travel document at the South Sudanese Embassy in Khartoum April 9, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer (Reuters)

South Sudan will cut the number of staff at its embassies across the world to save costs, its foreign affairs ministry said on Tuesday, as conflict and low oil prices take a toll on government finances.

The world's newest nation plunged into civil war in late 2013 when a political crisis provoked fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels allied with his former deputy, Riek Machar.

South Sudan's economy has taken a beating since then, and its currency has weakened, inflation has spiralled and revenues from oil dropped due to falling production and falling world prices.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international cooperation is planning to reduce or downsize staff in its embassies abroad," it said in a statement.

"The country is not closing its embassies but rather reducing the number of staff to cut down expenditures due to the economic crisis in the country."

South Sudan's 2015/16 budget was set at 10.3 billion South Sudanese pounds, down from 11 billion in 2014/2015. It has 28 embassies worldwide.

Both sides of the conflict, under pressure from Washington, the United Nations and other powers, signed a preliminary peace deal in August and agreed to share out ministerial positions in January. But that accord has broken down repeatedly.

In February, Kiir re-appointed Machar as vice president, raising hopes of a breakthrough after months of troubled negotiations and failed ceasefires.

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