The United States is reportedly set to announce an arms embargo against South Sudan on Friday, a week after its ambassador to the United Nations made a similar call.
- Arms and light weapons have been used by both warring parties in South Sudan to commit abuses (Photo courtesy of SSANSA)
Sources, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the US State Department is due to make the announcement on Friday morning.
Last month, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley called for an arms embargo on South Sudan after its warring parties failed to honour a ceasefire agreement signed late last year in Addis Ababa.
Addressing the United Nations Security Council on 24 January, Haley criticized the President Salva Kiir-led Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) of failing to lead efforts to end the civil war.
“The time has come to acknowledge the hard reality – that the leaders of South Sudan are not just failing their people, they are betraying them,” Haley told the 15-member Security Council.
“I urge my fellow Council members to support an arms embargo. This isn’t punishment. Nor is it a meaningless gesture. It is something we can do to actually help the people of South Sudan – to slow the violence, slow the flow of arms and ammunition, and protect innocent lives,” she added.
In December 2016, the Barrack Obama administration attempted to convince the UN to back an arms embargo against South Sudan.
However, while there is no US weapons trade to South Sudan, arms continue to flow into the young nation through neighboring states from countries in Eastern Europe, a source told Reuters on Friday.
In March last year, a UN panel of experts called for an arms embargo on South Sudan after it emerged that its government was spending oil revenue on weapons as its citizens faced starvation.
The call was, however, opposed by China and Russia, insisting regional nations must play a key role in resolving South Sudan’s war.
South Sudan descended into war in mid-December 2013 when Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup. The conflict has forced more than two million people to flee their homes.