Gov’t fear UN report could trigger more sanctions
The government has expressed worries over the recent report of the United Nations Panel of Experts on South Sudan alleging that the country had procured armoured vehicles.
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deng Dau Deng, termed the report as ‘‘baseless and speculative.’’
With barely a fortnight before the the UNSC make a decision whether to extend or lift the arms embargo and sanctions on individuals, Dau says the report could condemn South Sudan to another stint of sanctions if it is factored in.
“The UN Security Council is sitting next (May 30) week and this is a preparation for them to renew another sanction or to add more members to the given sanctions. What has been reported has no facts and it is misleading,” he explained.
He blamed the UN Security Council Panel of Experts on South Sudan for releasing the report without establishing facts about the vehicles that were bought.
“We have read the report of the UN Security Council with a lot of concern as a government. Such reports should have first been exhausted before being issued,” Deng said.
Deng denied the content of the report, stating that the government did not procure armoured vehicles but official cars including Landcruisers and hardtop for the general headquarters to facilitate commissioners and assistant commissioners of police.
“These are normal official vehicles. They are not armoured. The report s is misleading and speculative, they should have established what was actually bought.”
The United Nations Security Council Panel of Experts on South Sudan on April 28, 2022 released a report claiming the government of South Sudan had bought police vehicles as well as other armoured vehicles.
“The panel considers the import of these vehicles to constitute a violation of the arms embargo imposed on the entire territory of South Sudan by Security Council resolution 2428 (2018), renewed most recently by resolution 2577 (2021),” the report read in part.
“In March 2022, the Government of South Sudan announced on its Facebook page that it had purchased 150 new vehicles for the South Sudan National Police Service.
“The announcement was accompanied by photographs depicting approximately 25 new armoured personnel carriers at police headquarters in Juba,” said the report.
In February 2022 and December 2021, the report added, similar vehicles were spotted at the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces Tiger Battalion in Warrap and Lakes states, respectively, which they said matched the “Tygra” model.
“No exemption was requested by the Committee for the purchase of the armoured military vehicles,” the report said.
The panel further claimed 50 National Security Service Officers had been trained and graduated, by the Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service of Ethiopia.
Lift arms embargo
On Sunday last week, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tsishekedi, urged African Union (AU) member states to jointly call for the lifting of the arms embargo on South Sudan.
Also, the Kenyan Envoy to South Sudan, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka added his voice in support of the lifting of the arms embargo during his recent visit to Juba.
President Salva Kiir has been blaming the failure to implement critical chapters of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), basically, the graduation of the unified forces, on the arms embargo.
“It (embargo) has now become an obstacle to the same agreement’s implementation because we cannot graduate the unified forces with sticks. I know South Sudan cannot do this alone and this is why I am calling upon the regional bodies to unite again,” Kiir noted.
The UNSC adopted resolution 2577, to extend the date of the arms embargo on South Sudan from May 28, 2021, for a year, till May 28, 2022.
The arms embargo involves military activities like procuring of arms, armoured vehicles, recruiting or training of soldiers, stopping technical support, training, and financial assistance, to mention but a few.