Juba furious over renewed arms embargo

Juba furious over renewed arms embargo
The latest embargo might delay graduation of unified forces. [Photo: Courtesy]

South Sudan has registered her displeasure with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) decision on Wednesday to renew the arms embargo and other sanctions that have been in place since July 2018.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in a statement, said the UNSC decision to extend sanctions ‘comes amidst the undeniable rise of the global South’.

“The African people have spoken clearly through the African Union Decision 815 of February 2022 that the sanctions and arms embargo is counterproductive. That some countries would dismiss the African Union’s stance on this matter shows an old hubris with no value for a world shaken by wars, including in Africa and Europe,” read the statement in part.

On the other hand, Juba appreciated China, Russia, India, Gabon, and Kenya in voting against the extension of the sanctions and arms embargo.

“These countries understand that the United Nation’s vision of world peace requires that sovereign nations respect one another as equals. They stand in solidarity with the people of South Sudan, for whom these sanctions are a cruel policy with no clear intention.”

The statement further says that “South Sudan will continue to model reconciliation through our Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU), knowing that other countries too experience violent political discord that requires tolerance, accommodation, and healing. Just as sanctions on those countries would be counterproductive, they are also counterproductive to South Sudan. We, instead, invite friendly nations to support our efforts to stabilize the country, including our sovereign right to defend our territorial integrity.”

According to a statement of the Permanent Representative of South Sudan to the United Nations, Amb Akuei Bona Malwal, the resolution to renew sanctions and embargo on South Sudan is believed by the United Nations as a curative drug to conflict and an ointment for peace and stability.

“Regrettably, the council just adopted a resolution which is full of belief that it would resolve the conflict and bring peace in South Sudan,” read the statement from Amb Akuei.

He stressed that sanctions and arms embargo would have dire implications on economy thus throwing the civil population to the valley of misery, adding that the resolution since inception had not achieved its intended target but just ill-intended.

“But after all these years dealing with this issue, we know better. This resolution will not do that. In fact, it may even compound the economic misery the people of South Sudan are enduring currently,” the permanent representative continued.

“It is a common knowledge that South Sudan does not agree with the sanctions and arms embargo imposed on her, because we strongly believe the sanctions and the embargo were ill intended from the beginning and are counterproductive. Since its imposition, I do not think this council can state authoritatively that the resolution has achieved the desired outcome.”

He termed the resolution on sanctions and arms embargo as punishing measures, and urged the international community to encourage, because the measures imposed were not effective tools to restore peace and harmony in South Sudan.

“What is needed is for the international community to give more encouragement and material support for the implementation to progress faster and effectively. Waiting at the end of the mandate every year to point out shortcomings in the implementation would not bear any positive outcomes,” he reiterated.

“My delegation is grateful to those council members who, within their means, always try to balance the text and mandate of this resolution in order to make it fit for the intended purpose, which is lasting peace in South Sudan.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation yesterday said they would respond to the renewal of arms embargo in the soonest time possible.

Experts’ report

The United Nations Security Council Panel of Experts on South Sudan in its report dated April 28, 2022, claimed the government of South Sudan police vehicles and armoured vehicles, terming it as a violation of arms embargo imposed on South Sudan.

“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 report reiterated that, similar vehicles were spotted at the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces Tiger Battalion in Warrap and Lakes states, in February 2022 and December 2021 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 were also trained and graduated, by the Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service.

Gov’t concerned

Days after the report of the UNSC Panel of Experts on South Saw light accusing South Sudan of violating arms embargo, the government refuted it saying it was baseless and speculative.

The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deng Dau Deng, termed the report as ‘‘baseless and speculative,” adding the report could trigger more sanctions on individuals.

“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 denied procurement of armoured vehicles by the government, but accepted that official cars including Landcruisers and hardtop for the police general headquarters and to facilitate commissioners and deputy commissioners of police were the ones that were procured.

“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.

“These are normal official vehicles. They are not armoured. The report s is misleading and speculative, they should have established what was actually bought.”

Lift arms embargo

President Salva Kiir Mayardit had been calling for lifting of sanctions and arms embargo citing them as stumbling blocks lagging the implementation of the peace agreement and graduating of unified forces.

Early this month, the President of Democratic Republic of Congo Felix Tshisekedi who is the chairperson of African Union urged African Countries to unite against sanctions and arms embargo imposed on South Sudan.

The Kenyan Envoy to South Sudan, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, who subsequently visited the country also added his voice in support of lifting of arms embargo.

The government of South Sudan blames delay in graduation of unified forces on lack of guns and the country’s inability to procure arms due to arms embargo.