U.N. council fails to impose arms embargo on South Sudan

ESAT News (December 23, 2016)

The United Nations Security Council failed on Friday to adopt a U.S.-drafted resolution to impose an arms embargo and further sanctions on South Sudan despite warnings by U.N. officials of a possible genocide in the world’s newest state.

Reuters reported that there were seven votes in favor and eight abstentions. A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted. Washington called for a vote on Friday knowing it would fail, the report said.

The United States could not even win over its ally Japan, which last month deployed troops to a U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. Japan, Russia, China, Angola, Malaysia, Venezuela, Egypt and Senegal all abstained.

The resolution had also proposed blacklisting South Sudan opposition figure Riek Machar, army chief Paul Malong and Information Minister Michael Makuei.

Political rivalry between President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and Marchar, his former deputy, led in 2013 to civil war that often has followed ethnic lines. The pair signed a peace deal last year, but fighting has continued. Machar, a Nuer, fled in July and is now in South Africa.

According to the report by Reuters, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday told the Security Council that he feared genocide was about to start in South Sudan unless immediate action is taken, renewing his months-long plea for an arms embargo.

South Sudan’s U.N. ambassador, Akuei Bona Malwal, said such descriptions were exaggerated and did not “reflect the reality on the ground.”

U.N. peacekeepers have been in South Sudan since the nation gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and there currently are some 13,700 U.N. troops and police in the country.