South Su­dan un­der­mines deal to send more peace­keep­ers: UN

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

A con­fi­den­tial let­ter from the UN sec­re­tary-gen­eral says South Su­dan’s govern­ment is un­der­min­ing a UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil de­ci­sion to de­ploy an ad­di­tional 4,000 peace­keep­ers, risk­ing an arms em­bargo as fight­ing con­tin­ues in the world’s youngest na­tion.

Ban Ki-moon let­ter dated Mon­day, ob­tained by The As­so­ci­ated Press, also lists sev­eral govern­ment ob­struc­tions to the UN peace­keep­ing mis­sion in this East African coun­try where civil war erupted in late 2013, in­clud­ing the de­mand that UN aid con­voys to some ar­eas in­clude South Su­danese sol­diers. Ban’s let­ter calls that “a clear vi­o­la­tion” of the UN‘s op­er­at­ing agree­ment.

Un­der a res­o­lu­tion the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil ap­proved in Au­gust, such a let­ter from Ban is meant to trig­ger a coun­cil meet­ing within five days to con­sider im­pos­ing an arms em­bargo and other op­tions.

After a sim­i­lar let­ter last month, the coun­cil dis­cussed South Su­dan be­hind closed doors but re­port­edly re­main di­vided on an arms em­bargo. Mean­while, re­ports of fight­ing con­tinue in many parts of the coun­try, amid con­cerns that the vi­o­lence which has killed tens of thou­sands is in­creas­ingly eth­nic in na­ture.

“What this re­port shows is that while South Su­danese have said the right things, they have not fol­lowed through,” said Ak­shaya Ku­mar, the deputy UN direc­tor at Hu­man Rights Watch. “If the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil and the US let South Su­dan skate by with­out an arms em­bargo, again, there will be a se­ri­ous ques­tion mark about their cred­i­bil­ity.”

A Se­cu­rity Coun­cil visit last month did lit­tle to ease the hos­til­ity among some South Su­danese of­fi­cials at the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, with some ac­cus­ing UN and other aid work­ers of help­ing rebel fight­ers.

Ban’s lat­est monthly let­ter makes clear that South Su­dan’s govern­ment has not taken “con­crete ac­tions” to fol­low up on agree­ments to al­low the de­ploy­ment of 4,000 ad­di­tional peace­keep­ers and to al­low the UN mis­sion of more than 12,000 to op­er­ate with­out re­stric­tions. The govern­ment is “con­stantly chang­ing” its po­si­tion, the let­ter says.

The 4,000 ex­tra peace­keep­ers are meant to pro­tect civil­ians after re­ports of nu­mer­ous abuses, in­clud­ing gang rapes, dur­ing a new round of fight­ing in July in the cap­i­tal, Juba.

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