Although the formation of a full unity government in February suggests the end of the conflict in South Sudan, the United Nations Security Council (UN) prefers to remain cautious. Also, it adopted on Friday May 29 a resolution extending until May 2021 the arms embargo and the individual sanctions imposed on the African country. Drafted by the United States, the resolution received 12 votes in favor; Russia, China and South Africa abstaining.
By extending its sanctions until May 31, 2021, the Security Council has scheduled a review no later than December 15, 2020. The resolution says it “Expresses its availability to study adjustment measures (…), including modifications, suspension, lifting or strengthening of sanctions depending on the situation”.
The highest body of the UN claims in this regard “A report to the secretariat of the United Nations before October 31, 2020 on the role of the arms embargo in the implementation of the peace agreement” concluded in 2018 and “Options for developing benchmarks” in order to be able to follow the application of this agreement.
Hope for peace revived
In February, rebel leader Riek Machar returned to Juba as first vice-president, reviving hopes for peace in this young country created in 2011. South Sudan had sunk into civil war in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, had accused Mr. Machar, a member of the Nuer ethnic group, of fomenting a coup.
The conflict, marked by atrocities, including murders and rapes, has killed more than 380,000 people in six years and caused a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.
In a statement on Friday, Amnesty International welcomed the renewal of the arms embargo. “Limiting the flow of weapons used to commit war crimes, human rights violations and abuses is essential”said organization official Deprose Muchena, calling on all members of the UN to enforce the embargo.