Russia Opposes South Sudan Arms Embargo, Sanctions

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Russia has said it is opposed to placing a UN arms embargo on South Sudan and sanctions against President Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.

UN sanctions monitors earlier this week said the security council should place an arms embargo on South Sudan to stop the flow of weapons into the country. The same report blamed the nation’s president and leading rebel member for the deaths of civilians and proposed sanctions against the pair.

 

Russia opposes embargo

Despite the recommendations of the UN sanctions monitors, Russia has said it opposes the prospect of an arms embargo and sanctions, claiming it will not aid the peace process in South Sudan.

Russia’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Petr Iliichev said calls for an embargo are “not conducive for the peace process” as it would be difficult to enforce upon rebels – potentially giving them an advantage against the government.

“For us it’s a no go,” he was quoted by Reuters. “The region is already inundated with arms, so what we need is to control the arms that are there.”

 

Failed peace deal

A peace deal was agreed between President Kiir and Machar’s rebel forces in August, but both sides have routinely broken the ceasefire. Recent talks designed to push the implementation of August’s peace deal initially got off to a good start, but US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said this week that implementation of the deal has stalled.

She said the UN needs to decide whether an arms embargo or sanctions against the government could be a could be “a means of stabilizing the situation on the ground or getting the implementation of the agreement back on track.”

Russia appears to have already made up its mind that they won’t. It’s not the first time Russia has opposed sanctions  against key members involved in the conflict. In September it blocked sanctions against a South Sudan army general and rebel commander who were seen as key protagonists in the country’s civil war.

 

Featured image:

By USAID Africa BureauA young girl hangs the South Sudan flag, Public Domain.