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Security Council to further discuss South Sudan sanctions after New York summit

September 18, 2015 (NEW YORK) – The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will again table the draft proposed sanctions on top military commanders in South Sudan after the expected UN General Assembly scheduled for 29 September.

The UN Security Council votes unanimously to impose sanctions on those blocking peace in South Sudan (Photo: UN/Devra Berkowitz)
The UN Security Council votes unanimously to impose sanctions on those blocking peace in South Sudan (Photo: UN/Devra Berkowitz)
On Tuesday Angola and Russia, supported by China and Venezuella, asked to put on hold the US and UK-drafted sanctions targeting South Sudanese army chief, Paul Malong Awan, and opposition’s commander in Upper Nile state, Johnson Olony.

Among the main complaints raised by Angola and Russia was the fact that the Security Council’s draft only called for travel ban on Olony but wanted to impose both travel ban and assets freeze on Awan, which they thought was unfair. They also said the sanctions would be counter-productive to the implementation of the peace agreement.

Both Awan and Olony are accused of sabotaging the peace deal by allegedly continuing to order rival troops to fight despite ceasefire deal signed by their two principals, president Salva Kiir and opposition leader, Riek Machar.

But UNSC sanctions committee would continue to push for the measures to be imposed, not only on the two additional top commanders, but also on many more officials in the future.

According to a report by the What’s in Blue electronic newsletter Angola raised the request to hold the process of the sanctions and supported by Russia, which complained of unequal treatment of the two rival generals and also asked to defer the process until after the expected African Union’s Peace and Security Council’s summit and the UN General Assembly high level meeting in New York.

“Angola argued that the Council’s decision-making should not be contingent on the domestic law of one of its members—an apparent reference to a US explanation in response to Russia’s request for clarification as to why an asset freeze in addition to a travel ban was not proposed for Olonyi—and stated that it did not believe that designating these two individuals would support the peace process in South Sudan,” partly reads the report.

It further proposed that a decision on the potential designations be delayed until after the convening of the AU Peace and Security Council summit in New York, scheduled for 26 September, and the high-level event on South Sudan planned for 29 September on the margins of the General Assembly’s opening session.

China and Venezuela apparently supported the views expressed by Angola and Russia.

At the 4 September consultations on South Sudan, special representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Ellen Margrethe Løj, noted that there had been numerous violations of the peace agreement signed in late August by the parties.

The Council, said the statement, is expected to remain actively engaged on South Sudan issues in the coming months to closely monitor the implementation of the peace deal and initiate measures to punish spoilers.

The US has also been working on another draft resolution that would support initial implementation of the security, operational and political aspects of the peace agreement. The new draft is to be circulated after the end of the workshop on transitional security arrangements involving the warring parties in Addis Ababa on 18 September.

In the next Secretary-General’s report on UNMISS, due in November, the Secretary-General could provide recommendations for a revised mandate for the Council’s consideration prior to the mission’s 30 November expiration.

The UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of UNMISS with expanded role to ensure implementation of the deal.

(ST)

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