Trump Administration has Imposed Arms Embargo on South Sudan

Posted: February 2, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, Junub Sudan

US slaps arms embargo on South Sudan, urges UN to do the same as civil war rages on.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is imposing a U.S. arms embargo on civil war-torn South Sudan while urging the United Nations and other countries to do the same.

The State Department said Friday the U.S. is restricting all sales of defense equipment and services to all parties to South Sudan’s conflict, saying it is “appalled” by the continuing violence that has defied a cease-fire. It’s mostly symbolic since the U.S. has almost no defense trade with the East African country in the first place.

The United States is also calling on South Sudan’s neighbors to implement similar arms restrictions and urging the U.N. Security Council to support a global embargo on the country. “The message must be clear – the United States, the region and the international community will not stand idly by as innocent South Sudanese civilians are murdered,” the statement said.

South Sudan government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny had no immediate comment, telling The Associated Press that the Cabinet was meeting to come up with “an appropriate response.”

Late last month, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley announced that the United States had given up on South Sudan’s leader after investing more than $11 billion in the country, and she called President Salva Kiir an “unfit partner” in the pursuit of peace.

South Sudan’s leaders aren’t just failing the country, “they are betraying them,” Haley said.

Untold tens of thousands of people have been killed in the civil war that erupted in December 2013 after tensions between supporters of Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his deputy Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer. Machar is now in exile. The U.N. and others have warned of ethnic violence, the recruitment of thousands of child soldiers and the widespread use of rape as a weapon of war.

The number of South Sudanese refugees could reach 3 million by the end of this year, Africa’s largest refugee crisis since Rwanda’s genocide in 1994, the U.N. said Thursday.

The United States in the last days of the Obama administration tried and failed to have the U.N. Security Council impose an arms embargo on South Sudan, to the disappointment of arms researchers and rights groups who say the country is awash in weapons.

Haley has urged the council to impose an embargo, but Russia and China remain opposed. Russia has said it would only worsen the situation and China has said the U.N.’s most powerful body should send out more “positive and enthusiastic messages.”

The world’s youngest country won independence from Sudan in 2011, and later that year the U.S. clarified that its arms embargo on Sudan didn’t apply to the new nation. Global optimism for South Sudan eventually faded as its leaders turned against each other.

Frustration with South Sudan’s government and rebels has been rising. The latest cease-fire, which went into effect Dec. 24, was violated within hours. Both sides have been accused of restricting the delivery of aid to millions across the impoverished country, including an estimated 1.5 million people near famine.

South Sudan is considered the world’s most dangerous country for aid workers, with 28 killed last year, a new high.

The U.N. secretary-general last month warned of the imposition of “consequences” over the ongoing fighting. This week the African Union joined the calls for further sanctions on those blocking the path to peace.

A new round of peace talks, brokered by a regional bloc, is set to begin Monday in neighboring Ethiopia with discussions of, among other things, a permanent cease-fire.

___

U.S. Raises Pressure on South Sudan’s Kiir, Bans Export of Arms, Defense Services

By Lesley Wroughton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Friday banned the export of weapons and defense services to South Sudan, stepping up pressure against President Salva Kiir to end the country’s four-year civil war.

“The Department of State today announces that it is implementing restrictions on the export of defense articles and defense services into South Sudan,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

While the United States does not conduct arms sales with South Sudan, the move prevents any U.S. company or citizen from providing military equipment or defense services to the country’s warring factions.

The unilateral arms embargo is another signal that Washington is losing patience with South Sudan’s leaders after ceasefires have been repeatedly violated. The war has been marked by brutal attacks against civilians, which has sparked the region’s biggest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

In South Sudan’s capital Juba, Kiir’s spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny declined to comment.

The Trump administration urged neighboring countries and African groups, such as the eight-member Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to sanction South Sudanese officials who are aiding the conflict.

“We encourage IGAD and the African Union to consider sanctions measures against those who undermine the peace process,” Nauert said in the statement.

She said the State Department would amend the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, or ITAR, to reflect the arms ban on South Sudan. ITAR is the official name for a 40-year-old set of rules governing the export of defense goods and data perceived to have implications for U.S. national security.

Countries currently on the ITAR blacklist include Belarus, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela.

 

OFFICIALS SANCTIONED

Some top officials close to Kiir have already been sanctioned by the United States, including the once-powerful army chief Paul Malong, who was later fired and forced into exile when he quarreled with the president.

The African Union on Monday said it was open to imposing sanctions on leaders violating ceasefires in South Sudan, joining a chorus of officials who say those prolonging the conflict must be punished.

“We need to act against those who, with impunity, are continuing to massacre their peaceful populations,” the head of the African Union commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, told reporters at the AU Summit held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the U.N. Security Council last week it was time to impose a U.N. arms embargo on South Sudan. Haley visited South Sudan in late October and met with Kiir.

The Obama administration attempted in December 2016 to convince the United Nations to back an arms embargo against South Sudan.

Any U.S. push for the U.N. Security Council to take further action against South Sudan is likely to be resisted by veto power Russia. The council sanctioned several senior South Sudanese officials on both sides of the conflict in 2015.

“The time has come to acknowledge the hard reality that the leaders of South Sudan are not just failing their people, they are betraying them. And so this Council is at a crossroads,” Haley told the council last Wednesday. “We cannot stand by idly as innocent civilians are murdered and raped.”

WAR

Oil-rich South Sudan has been wrecked by civil war since 2013, when troops loyal to Kiir clashed with troops loyal to then-Vice President Riek Machar.

 

The conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives since then, slashed oil production and driven about a third of the population of 12 million from their homes.

The European Union imposed an arms embargo on Sudan in 1994, which was amended to also apply to South Sudan when the country gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

Independent U.N. experts have reported to the U.N. Security Council that South Sudan’s government has spent millions of dollars on weapons as the country slid into famine and an economic crisis.

In January 2016, U.N. experts reported that sources had told them: “Uganda either supplies South Sudan with its own stock or acquires the weapons and then transfers them to South Sudan, without necessarily involving or obtaining the consent of the primary seller.”

Last year, the U.N. experts said: “Weapons continue to flow into South Sudan from diverse sources, often with the coordination of neighboring countries.”

(Additional reporting by Denis Dumo in Juba; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Susan Thomas)

Copyright 2018 Thomson Reuters.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s