November 18, 2016 (WASHINGTON) - The United States (U.S.) Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power Thursday announced that a proposal for arms embargo on South Sudan and additional targeted sanctions will be submitted to the Security Council very soon.
In a very strongly worded speech before the Security Council, power pointed that all the ingredients for a genocide exist in South Sudan. She added that the international community should shoulder its responsibility to protection civilians and prevent an "imminent genocide" as in was said by the UN Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng last wek.
"In the coming days, the United States will put forward a proposal to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan and targeted sanctions on the individuals who have been the biggest spoilers to achieve lasting peace in South Sudan," Power said.
She said this measure comes in the interest of South Sudanese and the whole region.
Speaking about the ingredients of genocide, Power stressed that violence in South Sudan is now dramatically escalating on ethnic lines, there are no adequate forces to stop mass atrocities, and a growing climate of incitement, fear, and intimidation has been observed there.
She pointed that the perpetrators of this ethnic violence "enjoy near total impunity".
"The message that the government sends by not holding them accountable is crystal clear – keep at it. Keep doing what you’re doing," she emphasized.
Also, UN special adviser for the prevention of genocide who just concluded a five-day visit to South Sudan warned the 15-member body about the potential for genocide there.
"I saw all the signs that ethnic hatred and targeting of civilians could evolve into genocide if something is not done now to stop it. I urge the Security Council and member states of the region to be united and to take action," Dieng reiterated in his speech.
However the veto-powers Russian and Chinese diplomats at the Security Council voiced their objection to the punitive measures saying they would not improve the situation.
"We think that implementing such a recommendation would hardly be helpful in settling the conflict," said Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Petr Iliichev.
While from Beijing the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang announced that "As a matter of principle, China’s position is that it consistently does not agree with the use of or threat of sanctions".
The Enough Project, in a statement released on Thursday urged U.N. Security Council members to support the arm embargo’s resolution to address the crisis in South Sudan.
“South Sudan faces the very real threat of genocide. It is critical that the U.N. Security Council not stand idly by while the crisis intensifies," said John Prendergast, Founding Director at the Enough Project.
"Every genocide early warning system is flashing red in South Sudan today. All of the classic elements are present for mass atrocities to unfold, and when atrocities are targeted at specific communities on the basis of their identity, that is genocide," added Prendergast added.