The Security Council can only lift the arms embargo on South Sudan when the 2018 peace agreement is fully implemented, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said.
In the latest report on benchmarks to assess the arms embargo in South Sudan, Mr Guterres said that the major matters that should be fulfilled include establishment of the Revitalized Transitional Legislative Assembly, Commission of Truth and Reconciliation, full formation of States governments and the unification of forces into one professional army.
“This perspective is fully in line with paragraph 4 of resolution 2521 (2020), in which the Security Council expressed its intention to review the arms embargo in light of progress achieved in implementing all provisions of the agreement, and adherence to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement.
“The present section outlines three key benchmarks for the Security Council to assess the arms embargo. These benchmarks may contribute to the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement, the cessation of hostilities and the permanent ceasefire,” Mr Guterres said.
In May last year, the UN Security Council approved a resolution extending an arms embargo and sanctions against South Sudan for one year.
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.
The embargo, however, relies on members of the UN to enforce it. With porous borders in South Sudan, militia have still been able to get constant supply of arms through smuggling, according to a report by the Small Arms Survey.
Mr Guterres also called for urgent incorporation of the Revitalized Agreement into the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, as well as completion of the permanent constitution, “completion of the institutional reforms of key finance institutions, namely the Bank of South Sudan, the Ministry of Finance and Planning, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Audit Chamber, establishment and effective functioning of the high-level, competent and effective oversight mechanism that will control revenue collection, budgeting, revenue allocation and expenditure.
“Publicly accessible reporting of all revenues, expenditures, deficits and debts of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity and publication of an annual report that details the Government’s financial activities and is made available to the Transitional National Legislative Assembly.”
The UN chief also appealed for the urgent establishment of the Hybrid Court of South Sudan, with the first steps including the conclusion of a memorandum of understanding between the African Union Commission and the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.