South Sudanese soldiers secure a road near Juba’s airport on August 26, 2014. By Samir Bol (AFP/File)
United Nations (United States) (AFP) – Russia said Friday it opposes an arms embargo on South Sudan and sanctions on its leaders for their role in the brutal two-year war. A UN panel of experts has recommended the measures in a report to the Security Council, which is struggling to forge a common approach to try to end the violence in the world’s youngest nation. Russian Deputy UN Ambassador Petr Iliichev said sanctions were “not conducive” for the peace process because the panel proposed putting the president and rebel leader on the sanctions blacklist.
The panel submitted a confidential list of four names for sanctions: President Salva Kiir, rebel chief Riek Machar, army chief of staff Paul Malong and internal security chief Akol Koor.
Diplomats confirmed the names on the list.
Kiir and Machar signed a peace deal in August that has failed to take hold, but Iliichev said there was “slight progress” in steps to form a national unity government.
“The government of national unity, the transitional governance, is almost there, and we are going to cut everything” with sanctions, he said.
On the proposed arms embargo, the Russian envoy said it was a “no-go” because the restrictions would hit the government more than the opposition.
“The region is already inundated with arms so what we need is to control those arms that are there,” said Iliichev.
South Sudan has been torn by fighting between forces loyal to Kiir and rebels allied with Machar since December 2013, and the violence has exploded along ethnic lines.
Thousands have died in the war, more than 2.3 million people have been driven from their homes and 3.9 million South Sudanese face severe food shortages.