Russia & Angola Block Latest UN Sanctions Against South Sudan
Russia and Angola have blocked the UN’s latest attempt to impose sanctions on key military and opposition figures in South Sudan.
The United Nation Security Council (UNSC) voted on Tuesday over a US-backed proposal to impose sanctions on South Sudan Army Chief Paul Malong and rebel General Johnson Olony for prolonging conflict in the newly independent nation.
Russia & Angola block US proposal
The US was pushing for a worldwide travel ban and seizure of assets for both individuals, but the proposal was blocked by Russia and Angola, while UN sources also report Venezuela was also opposed to the idea.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin criticised the move to impose further sanctions: “The United States, they just say ‘sanctions, sanctions, sanctions’ but in some cases it aggravates the situation,” he said.
Foreign ministers of Sudan and South Sudan recently paid a visit to Moscow to make their case against imposing further sanctions.
Violence in a young nation
South Sudan is the world’s newest country after gaining independence in 2011, but the nation’s short history has been a violent one. Tens of thousands of people have died in since independence was established, after violence escalated in 2013, when President Kiir accused then Vice-President Machar of planning a coup.
Violence has been ethnically charged and both ceasefires and peace deals have failed to calm the situation in South Sudan. UN pressure to strike a lasting peace deal has increased and the council agreed to place sanctions on six key commanders back in July – three from either side.
In August a peace deal was signed between government and rebel forces, however doubts over whether it would be implemented were soon justified as the violence continued.
The latest call for sanctions were made to address the roles of Chief Malong and General Olony in prolonging the conflict, following the peace deal. But after the sanctions were blocked UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon has announced he will invite President Kiir and rebel leader Machar to a meeting in New York this month in an attempt to implement the peace deal that was agreed last month.