18th June 2021
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Gov’t asks UNMISS to help in lifting of arms embargo

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Deng Dau Deng, deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Credit: Eye Radio.

The government has sought the help of the UN Mission in South Sudan in an attempt to convince the international community to lift the arms embargo.

Last week, the UN Security Council voted to extend the sanction regime for a year despite resistance from two countries—India and Kenya that absented from the vote.

The measure renewed the arms embargo along with assets freeze and global travel ban imposed on eight South Sudanese nationals for their role in fueling the conflict.

It will remain active until 31 May 2022.

But the government claims the decision affects its ability to provide security, safeguard its sovereignty and graduate the necessary unified forces.

There are thousands of SSPDF, SPLA-IO, and Opposition Alliance troops at various training camps across the country.

They have been at the cantonment sites for nearly two years with some choosing to leave the camps over lack of food, shelter, and medication.

The government claimed it does not have weapons to give to the unified forces.

It argues that it cannot purchase arms due to the embargo imposed on South Sudan by the United Nations Security Council.

The Council often takes its decisions based on reports by various UN agencies, including UNMISS through the UN Secretary-General.

“If we work together and improve on coordination, I believe South Sudan will be able to get out of the sanctions because we are implementing the revitalized peace agreement,” said Deng Dau, deputy minister of foreign affairs, Juba after a meeting with the representatives of the UN Mission.

In May, the UN Security Council preconditioned the lifting of the arms embargo on the implementation of security reforms as stipulated in the revitalized peace agreement.

They include the graduation of the Necessary Unified Forces, unification of their command, and redeployment.

It also includes allowing the free movement of the UN and humanitarian agencies.

For his part, the Deputy Head of UNMISS, Guang Cong, welcomed the gesture by the government, saying:

“The most important part that we agreed is that there should be freedom of movement for UNMISS, and the key is coordination. So both sides agreed that we need to strengthen our coordination.”

The Security Council first slapped an arms embargo on South Sudan in 2018 which has since been renewed several times, with the latest running until 31 May 2022.

The arms embargo empowers all UN Member States to prevent arms and related equipment of all types – including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and any spare parts – from entering South Sudan.

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