Call for New Sanctions Against South Sudan

Call for New Sanctions Against South SudanCall for New Sanctions Against South Sudan

US Ambassador Nikki Haley urged the UN Security Council on Tuesday to impose an arms embargo and additional sanctions on South Sudan to pressure the parties to end the civil war in the world’s newest nation, but Russia and China remain opposed.

Two counties in South Sudan are already in the throes of famine and Haley warned the council that 5.5 million people—half the country’s population—face “life-threatening hunger if nothing changes soon”, ABC News reported.

“We must not wait for more deaths, more displacement and more destruction before we have the courage to act.”

There were high hopes that South Sudan would have peace and stability after its independence from neighboring Sudan in 2011. But the country plunged into ethnic violence in December 2013 when forces loyal to President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, started battling those loyal to Riek Machar, his former vice president who is a Nuer.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 has not stopped the fighting and clashes last July between supporters of Kiir and Machar set off further violence. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and forced 3.5 million to flee their homes.

In March, a UN inquiry found the country is experiencing ethnic cleansing and the conditions for genocide are present.

Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Petr Iliichev, reiterated Moscow’s opposition to ramping up sanctions, saying peace “will not be brought about by a Security Council arms embargo but rather by targeted measures to disarm civilians as well as to demobilize and reintegrate combatants”.

China’s deputy UN ambassador, Wu Haitao, said “it is important for the Security Council to send out more positive and enthusiastic messages”.

He stressed that a political settlement is the only way to end the conflict and hoped that the UN, the African Union and an eight-member regional group, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, can join forces to promote negotiations.

Haley also urged all parties “to seriously engage” with the UN, AU and IGAD to achieve a ceasefire and immediate humanitarian access.

“And we call on the AU and UN envoys to put forward an operational plan of active engagement for peace in South Sudan,” she said.

UN envoy David Shearer told the council, however, that no party has shown interest in reviving the 2015 peace agreement.

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