Renewed arms embargo and sanctions threatens peace deal, Juba says

Wednesday June 02 2021

UN commanders in South Sudan inspect confiscated guns in 2014. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

By Garang Malak


South Sudan's unity government says the United Nations Security Council’s decision to renew the arms embargo and targeted sanctions will jeopardise the progress of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.

“It is with shock, dismay and surprise that UNSC in its resolution No. 2577, adopted 28th May 2021, renewed arms embargo and targeted sanctions on the Republic of South Sudan for one year until 31st May 2022.

“This implies prohibition of supply, sales, transfer of weapons as well as provision of technical assistance, training and other military support to South Sudan. The targeted sanctions entail travel bans and finance/assets freeze for individuals and entities,” reads the statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.  

The government said that these punitive measures undermine South Sudan’s sovereignty and peace deal.

“By extending the arms embargo, graduation of the National Unified Forces will greatly be affected, and will eventually weaken South Sudan to ascertain herself socially, economically, politically and in any unprecedented aggression internally and externally,” the government added.


It appealed to the international community to review the resolution.

In April this year, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the Security Council could only lift sanctions on South Sudan when the 2018 peace agreement is fully implemented.

Among the key things that should be fulfilled are the establishment of the Revitalized Transitional Legislative Assembly and the Commission of Truth and Reconciliation, full formation of States governments, and the unification of forces into one professional army.

In May, the UN Security Council approved a resolution extending an arms embargo and sanctions against South Sudan for one year.

The Council first slapped an arms embargo on South Sudan in 2018 and subsequently renewed it in 2019 to prevent a continuation of civil war.

Read more: How an arms embargo could actually prolong the war in South Sudan

Read more: South Sudan says renewing arms embargo is 'anti-peace'

The arms embargo empowers all UN member states to prevent arms and related equipment—including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and any spare parts—from entering South Sudan.

South Sudan suffered through six years of civil war that claimed some 400,000 lives, according to United Nations report.

After several peace talks, the conflicting parties signed the peace agreement on September 12, 2018 and in February last year formed the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.

According to a Gun Policy report, the estimated total number of guns (both legal and illicit) held by civilians in South Sudan was 1.2 million in 2017 and 3 million in 2013.

The Defence Forces of South Sudan is reported to have 351,500 firearms.