UN experts favor keeping South Sudan arms embargo

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A panel of UN experts has recommended maintaining an arms embargo imposed on South Sudan because of persistent ceasefire violations, according to a report made public Saturday.

The embargo had been due to expire at the end of the month and the UN Security Council is due to discuss the matter on May 26.


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The Panel of Experts on South Sudan recommended, in a 77-page report to the UN Security Council, that the embargo be maintained because of the continuing unrest there.

It has in any case been violated in the 12 months since it was extended in May 2021, said the experts, as the government had bought armored troop carriers.

A 2018 peace agreement ended five years of bloody civil war between President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar, a conflict that left 400,000 dead and forced four million people to flee their homes.

“Far from delivering transformational change to the predatory political system of South Sudan, the peace agreement has itself become a lucrative venue for elite power politics,” said the experts.

The peace accord provided for a power-sharing arrangement in a government of national unity, set up in 2020 with Kiir as president and Machar as vice-president.

But their rivalry has persisted, leaving many articles of the accord still to be respected, while armed clashes between the two sides have resumed.

While acknowledging there had been some progress, the report highlighted the continuing violence, as well as floods that had created “unprecedented levels of food insecurity.”

It added: “Millions remain displaced, with around 70 percent of the population in need of humanitarian assistance.”

It also described state corruption and a “chaotic system of public finances.”

“South Sudanese civilians, along with many of its political, military and civil society leaders, are deeply skeptical of the peace agreement’s prospects of delivering peace and stability to South Sudan without a dramatic course correction,” said the report.

South Sudan has been wracked by instability since independence in 2011 and is still struggling to draw a line under the devastating civil war.

Another UN report last month warned that nine million people would need aid this year because of the violence in the country and food insecurity.

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