UN resolution on arms embargo on South Sudan aborted

UN resolution on arms embargo on South Sudan aborted
Jikany Nuer White Army fighters holds their weapons in Upper Nile State, South Sudan February 10, 2014. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/File Photo

The United Nations has failed to approve a resolution that would have imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan as the U.S. proposal did not get enough support from the 15-member UN Security Council.

There was no veto. Only seven votes were in favor when at least nine were needed. There were eight abstentions. It brought to an end to the resolution that has taken months to negotiate.

According to the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N, Samantha Power, the country proposed the resolution to show that the architects of mass atrocities and those who defy the demand of the Security Council day in and day out will face consequences, adding: “We urged members of this Council to stand with the people from South Sudan, who are suffering immensely due to the actions of their leaders.”

The resolution aimed to place an arms embargo on the country and target sanctions on three individuals, including the opposition leader Riek Machar. But those proposals have proved contentious.

The Council has taken several months to bring the resolution to a vote because there has been considerable skepticism among some of the member nations about whether an arms embargo will even help the people of South Sudan.

Council members questioned the use of an embargo in a country already awash with weapons. All three African nations on the Council, Egypt, Senegal and Angola, abstained.

“Sanctions on South Sudan, in our view, must not be the priority of the United Nations, but the U.N. engagement in South Sudan should be focused more on supporting the political dialogue,” said Ismael Abraao Gaspar Martins, Angolan Ambassador to the U.N.

Angola argued the east African organization, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, or IGAD, does not think an arms embargo will provide lasting peace.

So does China, another council member that abstained. It stated “We are not in favor of using sanctions to exert pressure on developing countries. The transitional government of South Sudan has demonstrated political will to implement relevant council resolutions and joint communiqués.”

Yet the U.N. Secretary-general this week warned that South Sudan was on the “trajectory towards mass atrocities”.

And it estimates nearly 3,000 people are fleeing the country every day into neighboring countries such as Uganda.

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