Arms embargo not in the interest of peace’ South Sudan says
The government of South Sudan says the extension of the arms embargo by the UN Security Council (UNSC) poses a great threat to the country’s efforts to realize peace and stability.
Last Friday, the UNSC extended the arms embargo imposed on South Sudan since 2018 for another year, with a clause providing for a review of its relevance in April 2022. The arms embargo prohibits the supply, sale, or transfer of weapons and the provision of technical assistance, training, and other military assistance to the territory of South Sudan.
Reacting to the extension, Ambassador Thomas Kenneth Elisapana, the acting spokesperson in the South Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said the sanctions impede the peace deal’s implementation.
“These punitive measures undermine the sovereignty of the nation and jeopardize the progress of the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan,” he said. “By extending the arms embargo, graduation of the National Unified Forces (NUF) will greatly be affected, and will eventually weaken South Sudan to ascertain herself socially, economically, politically and in any unprecedented aggression internally or externally.”
According to him, the government expected that the recent reconstitution of the national legislature would be enough to reverse the decision.
“The government was expecting the international community to welcome the positive steps it has taken in the implementation of the R-ARCSS by lifting the sanctions. The government needs the encouragement of the International Community to do more towards the implementation of the agreement, instead of continuing renewing sanctions annually although they have proved unhelpful towards the stabilization of the situations in the country,” he added.
Ambassador Kenneth further pointed out that if the international community needs change in South Sudan, then they should lift the sanctions.
“Lifting the sanctions would clear the image of the country and would accord it great opportunity to start acting again with the partners for the wellbeing of South Sudanese people. Therefore, South Sudan appeals world heartedly to the international community to review this untenable solution, as the country advances towards trust-building, reconciliation and healing, and peaceful resolution to the conflict. These would be complemented with support from the regional and international communities,” he pleaded.
The UNSC has also expressed readiness to review the arms embargo if the government implements the restructuring of defense and security forces, the implementation of a disarmament program, demobilization and reintegration of combatants, and reform of armament and ammunition stockpile management.
The council requested South Sudan to report on progress achieved on those benchmarks and additional reforms to the committee overseeing the country’s sanctions no later than 15 April 2022.