The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday voted to renew sanctions on a number of individuals allegedly obstructing a peace deal in South Sudan, weeks after formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).
The 15-member body’s decision comes after an agreement to pursue the sanctions was reached with Russia on Friday, 27 May, in which the draft resolution followed two technical rollovers (resolution 2280 of 7 April and resolution 2271 of 2 March) that briefly extended the sanctions regime.The Council’s resolution, which welcomed the recent formation of a unity government, extended sanctions for a year, saying much was yet to be done to achieve a peaceful settlement of the conflict that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced over two million.
The sanction’s renewal was delayed due to the return to Juba of the opposition leader and current First Vice President, Riek Machar, and the formation of the transitional government of national unity in late April.
However, some members of the UN Security Council believed that the Council required more time to consider an appropriate approach to sanctions, including a potential arms embargo, while the political situation was in considerable flux and the threat of additional sanctions could affect the calculations of the key decision-makers.
Also members were of the view that the additional time might allow the Council to formulate a more unified strategy, given the divergent views on sanctions. Hence, brief technical rollover resolutions were adopted.
There is general recognition that enormous difficulties still lie ahead in the implementation of South Sudan’s peace deal.
These hurdles include, among others the lack of political will by the parties in the country’s transitional government of national unity to resolve on the controversial 28 states which the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and UN wanted suspended, but has not done till now.
The Council is also concerned about the ongoing threats in South Sudan to humanitarian organizations and workers as well as non-cooperation with the UN mission in the country. A draft South Sudan’s Non-Governmental Organization Bill, now in Parliament, is considered an obstacle to operations of international and national non-governmental entities.
South Sudan’s ambassador to the UN, Joseph Malok, however, said he was “disappointed” by the Security Council’s resolution, reiterating government’s commitment to implement the accord signed with the armed opposition in August last year.