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UN Security Council preconditions lifting of arms embargo

Author: Joakino Francis | Published: Sunday, May 2, 2021

Last year, Amnesty's investigators said several South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) soldiers were armed with Mpi-KMS-72 rifles manufactured in the former East Germany despite the arms embargo© Amnesty International

The Minister of Defense says the United Nations has preconditioned the lifting of the arms embargo on the implementation of security reforms stipulated in the revitalized peace agreement.

Angelina Teny says the UN Security Council recently carried out a strategic security assessment of the country where they pointed out some specific areas that require shift actions from the government.

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

According to the Security Council, the lack of a security strategy, resources and funding has impeded progress in the implementation of the transitional security arrangements, including the proper functioning of the cantonment and training sites.

In the assessment last month, the council said the formation, training, and redeployment of the necessary unified forces, in accordance with chapter 2 of the Revitalized Agreement, has yet to move forward.

It said recent civilian disarmament campaigns have been unsuccessful and resulted in violence, notably in Warrap State in August 2020.

It stated the parties to the conflict had continued to recruit new troops, contrary to the provisions of the Revitalized Agreement.

The Council also cited defections and changes of allegiance among the parties, saying they “continue to undermine the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement and the permanent ceasefire.”

Speaking to the press on Friday, South Sudan’s defense minister, Angelina Teny said the demands are clear for the government to act upon.

The defense minister emphasized that the government is keen to implement all the recommendations of the peace agreement.

But, she says there are many challenges impeding the professionalization of the security sector.

However, the government spokesperson said last week that the arms embargo itself is preventing the graduation of the peace soldiers.

Michael Makuei argued that there are no arms for graduating the unified army comprising of government and opposition forces.

The Security Council first slapped an arms embargo on South Sudan in 2018 which has since been renewed several times, most recently until 31 May 2021.

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.

The UNSC is expected to make a decision on whether to renew the arms embargo on South Sudan at the end of May.

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