UN now enforces arms embargo on South Sudan

Saturday July 21 2018

Ukraine has been accused of supplying South Sudan with weapons despite arms embargo. FILE PHOTO | AFP

South Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) national army soldiers patrol the streets with a pick-up truck after capturing the town of Bentiu, on January 12, 2014. The UN Security Council on July 12 imposed an arms embargo against South Sudan. FILE PHOTO | AFP 

By FRED OLUOCH
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The United Nations Security Council has finally imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan to stop the five-year-old civil war.

This comes as the signing of final peace deal in Khartoum is set for July 26, but only if the two outstanding issues — the number of states South Sudan should have and the size of the transitional government — are resolved.

Already, President Salva Kiir's regime has started lobbying neighbouring countries to ignore the arms embargo, saying it is driven by the United States’ campaign against it.

Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia are central to the successful implementation of the embargo because the four countries are either the source or offer passage to arms destined to South Sudan.

The embargo imposed on July 12, requires all UN Member States to prevent the entry of arms and equipment of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and other spare parts, in South Sudan.

“All Member States, especially the neighbours shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the territory of South Sudan from or through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of a and related materiel of all type,” read the resolution.

Already, Ethiopia has opposed the embargo when its Permanent Representative to the UN Tekeda Alemu, argued that South Sudan talks is at a critical stage that an embargo will have serious implication on the peace process.

South Sudan ambassador to the African Union (AU) James Morgan maintained that the arms embargo is a US agenda and not of the UN.

“The US has been pursuing the arms embargo for a long time but those in the Security Council were reluctant because it was not the UN. Unless we now say that the US is synonymous with the UN,” said Mr Morgan.

Several attempts by the US to push for a resolution for arms embargo at the Security Council have failed in the past two years because of veto from Russia and China.

The resolution that was presented by the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, got the requisite nine votes at the 15-member Security Council, while six countries abstained.

Ivory Coast, France, Kuwait, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Sweden, Britain and the US voted for the embargo, while Bolivia, China, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan and Russia abstained.

Diplomatic sources revealed that both Russia and China believed that Ivory Coast was with them but voted with the US to make the required nine countries.
Ms Haley argued that the arms embargo will protect civilians and send a strong message to the South Sudan leaders that the Council is tired of the delays and stalling of the peace process.

“If we are going to protect the people of South Sudan, then we need to stop the violence. And to stop the violence, we need to stop the flow of arms the fighting groups which they use to terrorise the populations,” said Ms Haley.

Kenya and Uganda will be on focus because Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, last year accused the two countries of perpetuating the war in South Sudan by allowing the passage of arms and ammunition through their territories.

The two countries have also been reluctant to implement to implement the unilateral arms embargo imposed by the US early in the year.

But the Kenyan Principle Secretary in the ministry of Foreign Affairs Macharia Kamau said that while Kenya always seeks to co-operate with the United Nations, the country will continue to support peace building in South Sudan.

He, however, said the embargo could not end the war, noting that the final solution is in the hands of South Sudanese people and leaders.