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South Sudan oil ministry fights sanctions; Uzbek separatist party gets US agent; Lott and Breaux lobby for Nissan: Monday’s Daily Digest

South Sudan oil ministry lobbies to lift sanctions

A group of men celebrate South Sudan’s independence.

South Sudan’s Petroleum Ministry has hired a French-run New York lobbying firm to improve the country’s image and lift US sanctions amid international misgivings over environmental degradation and lingering political instability.

Ministry Undersecretary Awow Daniel Chuang struck a deal with AZ Media PR for $280,500. The contract, for an undisclosed length of time, was effective Sept. 1.

AZ Media joins Washington lobbying firm Gainful Solutions in advocating for the removal of sanctions. The office of President Salva Kiir hired that firm for $3.7 million last year to “open channels of communication” with Trump and open a military relationship with the United States.

Read the story here.

Uzbek separatist party gets US agent

Ship graveyard in a desert around the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan / Milosz Maslanka

A self-described “freelance scientist” from Washington state has registered as a US agent for an Uzbek separatist leader in exile.

Andrey Khomutov, a microbiologist originally from Ukraine, is helping Amahbay Bazarbaevich Sagidullaev with his correspondence with US and international leader. Now living in Norway, Sagidullaev is the leader of Alga Karakalpakstan, a party that seeks independence for northwest Uzbekistan’s theoretically autonomous Republic of the same name.

While the party has long called on the international community to help usher in a new state, Khomutov told Foreign Lobby Report that his interests are mainly environmental. His registration and focus on the disappearance of Karakalpakstan’s Aral Sea come at a delicate time for Uzbekistan, which has launched a public relations campaign to end the private sector boycott of its cotton exports over allegations of forced labor and environmental destruction.

Read the story here.

New domestic lobbying filings (LDA)

Former senators Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and John Breaux (D-La.) are now lobbying for Nissan North America via their new home at Crossroads Strategies. The registration was effective Sept. 1. They will lobby on “advice and counsel” related to the CARES Act COVID-10 relief bill and net operating loss tax provisions. The two former senators previously lobbied for the US subsidiary of the Japanese carmaker when they were at Squire Patton Boggs, which they departed acrimoniously in June.

DB Group America, the US affiliate of Italian freight and cargo services company DB Group SPA, has hired Alpex International of Fairfax, Va. to lobby on “issues related to e-commerce and trade, including low-value shipments entering the US.” Lobbying on the account is Lee Godown, former chief of staff to ex-Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.). The registration was effective August 1.

In other news

President Donald Trump‘s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is facing renewed scrutiny over undisclosed relations with foreign actors, ABC News reports. Last winter Giuliani, camera crew in tow, collected documents from former Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach that purported to incriminate former Vice-President Joe Biden. Now he’s the one forced to defend his track record following last week’s Treasury Department designation of Derkach as a Russian agent who tried to meddle in the US election.