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Security Council delays sanctions on South Sudan for one month

Akuei Bona Malwal, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Sudan to the UN, takes part in the meeting. on 31 May 2018 (Photo UN)
May 31, 2018 (WASHINGTON) - The Security Council Thursday decided to consider within a month imposing arms embargo or individual sanctions on six South Sudanese including four top government officials in the event of a ceasefire violation or lack of a viable peace agreement.

The resolution also renews for 45 days the sanctions imposed in 2015 on those blocking peace in South Sudan.

The 15-member body in a resolution endorsed by just 9 "yes" votes said the Council would consider applying the sanctions if the parties violate the cessation of hostilities or fail to reach a viable political agreement before 30 June 2018

China, Russia, Ethiopia, Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Equatorial Guinea, abstained from voting on a draft resolution submitted by the United States. Those who voted for the resolution are Côte d’Ivoire, France, Kuwait, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The final version requests the UN Secretary-General to report on the ceasefire violation or the failure to strike a peace deal in coordination with the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM).

The resolution further decided to renew until 14 August 2018 the mandate of the Panel of Experts overseeing the sanctions imposed on South Sudan, with instructions to provide the Council with an update every month.

In an editorial published on the Washington Post on Wednesday, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the America administration was supportive for the new nation but "we have lost patience with the status quo".

In her speech before the Council, repeated the content of her editorial Haley and called for sanctions on "those who continue to destabilize South Sudan", adding "We must stop making excuses and take real steps to end the conflict".

Speaking before the vote, the Ethiopian Ambassador Tekeda Alemu said the South Sudanese conflict could only be addressed through an inclusive political process. He further said the IGAD efforts are at a “very critical moment” and the sanctions would be detrimental to the peace process.

Alemu further stressed that it would have been sensible for the Council to give IGAD a chance, and that "waiting two months would not have caused the sky to fall".

If the first version of the draft resolution provides the imposition of travel restrictions and an asset freeze with immediate effect, the resolution suspends the implementation for 29 days if the parties fail to sign an agreement or violate the cessation of hostilities.

British Ambassador Jonathan Guy Allen voiced his country support to the IGAD-led peace process adding it was clear that the parties were still not ready to reach agreement on peace as horrific reports of violence and human rights abuses continued.

“This cannot be allowed to continue,” he emphasized before to add that the resolution was an important step towards increasing pressure on the parties to compromise. "Let it be a clear message to the parties and those who wish to prevent peace going forward," Allen said.

The South Sudanese Ambassador Akuei Bona Malwal said the resolution imposing sanctions on South Sudanese officials was not helpful for the IGAD brokered efforts to end the conflict.

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel” in the peace revitalization forum, and "the annexe to the resolution was unhelpful in that regard. Nevertheless, the Government of South Sudan would work closely with regional partners to achieve lasting peace," Malwal said.

Juba says the sanctions would encourage the opposition groups to refuse to make needed concessions for peace.

The South Sudanese officials identified in the resolution are Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk, Cabinet Affairs Minister Martin Elia Lomuru, Minister of Information Michael Makuei Lueth, SPLA Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics Malek Reuben Riak Rengu, SPLM-IO Bieh state Gov. Koang Rambang Chol and former army chief Paul Malong Awan.

In June, the Security Council will discuss the security situation in South Sudan after a briefing on the Secretary-General’s 90-day report on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), together with his monthly report on violations of the Status of Forces Agreement.

Also in a related development, the SPLM-IO issued a statement denying that Governor Koang Rambang Chuol violated the ceasefire in Bieh State or denied humanitarian access to aid groups. Also, it denied his responsibility in the of two Kenyan pilots last February.

"Therefore, he does not meet the qualifications for travel ban and asset freeze as stated in Annexe 1 to the UN Security Council Zero Draft on Renewal of South Sudan Sanctions on individuals," concluded the rebel statement.

(ST)