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NEW YORK - 31 May 2020

UN extends South Sudan arms embargo

A South Sudanese soldier stands next to a machine gun mounted on a truck (File photo)
A South Sudanese soldier stands next to a machine gun mounted on a truck (File photo)

The UN Security Council on Friday approved a resolution extending until May next year an arms embargo on South Sudan and a travel ban and financial sanctions for targeted individuals.

The United States-drafted document received 12 votes in favour, with Russia, China and South Africa abstaining.

The 15-member body first imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan in 2018 and subsequently renewed it in 2019 to prevent a continuation of civil war.

The council additionally scheduled a midterm review of the measures to take place by December 15 and expressed its "readiness to consider adjusting measures."

The body was also asked to provide a report by the end of October on the role of the arms embargo in implementing the 2018 peace deal as well as provide options for developing benchmarks in South Sudan, which is emerging from a ruinous six-year civil war.

The resolution urges South Sudan’s leaders to finalize establishment of the transitional unity government and fully implement the 2018 peace agreement, including allowing unhindered humanitarian access to deliver aid. 

The resolution recognizes that violence has been reduced since the peace deal was signed, that the cease-fire is being upheld in most of the country, and that the unity government is striving to address the coronavirus pandemic.

However it reiterates the council’s concern at the political, security, economic and humanitarian situation in South Sudan and strongly condemns human rights violations, including “harassment and targeting of civil society, humanitarian personnel and journalists.”

It also expresses “deep concern at reports of misappropriation of funds that undermine the stability and security of South Sudan.

In a statement on Friday, Amnesty International welcomed the renewal of the arms embargo.

"It is crucial to curtailing the flow of weapons that have been used to commit war crimes, human rights violations and abuses," said Deprose Muchena, the group's director for East and Southern Africa, calling on all UN members to apply the embargo.