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UN extends South Sudan arms embargo through May 2021

This comes as fighting in the region continues [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 May, 2020

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The United Nations has extended an arms embargo in South Sudan after an intensification of fighting.
The UN Security Council on Friday adopted a resolution extending individual sanctions and an arms embargo in South Sudan through May 2021, despite reluctance from Russia, China and South Africa.

Drafted by the United States, the resolution received 12 votes in favor, with the three above countries abstaining.

The Council additionally scheduled a midterm review to take place by December 15 and expressed its "readiness to consider adjusting measures... including through modifying, suspending, lifting or strengthening."

The Security Council was also asked to provide a report by the end of October on the role of the arms embargo in implementing a 2018 peace agreement as well as provide options for developing benchmarks.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, the rebel leader who is now first vice president, reached a deal to form a unity government in February but remain at odds over issues including who will govern the country's 10 internal states.

South Sudan is emerging from a brutal six-year civil war that left 380,000 dead and millions displaced.

In a statement on Friday, Amnesty International welcomed the renewal of the arms embargo.

"It is crucial to curtailing the flow of weapons that have been used to commit war crimes, human rights violations and abuses," said Deprose Muchena, the group's director for East and Southern Africa, calling on all UN members to apply the embargo.

Armed clashes in Sudan's South Kordofan province killed more than two dozen people, including paramilitary troops, over 48 hours, authorities said earlier this week.

It marked the third outbreak of violence this month that could derail the country's transition to democracy.

The fighting poses a significant challenge to efforts by Sudan's transitional government to end decades-long rebellions in some areas of the country.

Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow former autocratic president Omar al-Bashir in April last year.

Fighting broke out this week between armed residents in a market in the city of Kadugli, the provincial capital of South Kordofan, said Deputy Chief of Staff of Sudan's military Abdalla al-Bashir.

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