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South Sudan pleads for lift of arms embargo

By Bida Elly David

South Sudan’s Minister of Presidential Affairs urges diplomats to help the country be freed from the bandage of UN Security Council’s arms embargo and sanctions.

Mr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin made the appeal during opening of the South Sudan Oil and Power conference and exhibition in Juba, on Thursday.

The conference was attended by several government officials, company executives, ministers, and diplomats from different nations.

The minister while presenting the keynote address of President Salva Kiir Mayardit lamented that the renewed arms embargo and sanctions against individuals have caused harm to the future of the country.

He then asked the foreign diplomat to assist the young East African nation in breaking free from the UN’s armed embargo.

“We are asking our fellow friends, our ambassadors, to help us,” he pleaded.

Minister Marial moaned that the arms embargo is really an obstacle to a lot of things.

“Targeted sanctions harm the future of this country, and the fact that peace has been implemented is a reality,” he exclaimed.

He said the help South Sudan seeks from the foreign diplomats in the country on the lifting of the arms embargo would promote bilateral ties, creating good relationships.

He slammed the United Nations for imposing sanctions on South Sudan, yet at the same time, they advocate for peace in the same nation where they cheat.

Marial further said that South Sudan is far better than Ukraine and Russia at implementing peace agreements.

“How does the United Nations want us to bring peace by imposing sanctions against us?” How can we graduate our unified forces with sticks? He questioned.

“Will they use sticks for defending the country? I think no,” he further observed.

The presidential affairs minister implored the ambassadors, investors, and other diplomats to create a sustainable investment environment in South Sudan by advocating for the lifting of sanctions.

Marial, however, blamed the snail-paced implementation of the revitalized peace agreement on the sanctions, citing them as stumbling blocks.

“Be with us together, shoulder to shoulder, so that we can move in this direction of peace being implemented,” he urged.

“Yes, there will be delays here and there because, in any agreement, there are silent parts that are not discussed between different parties,” he continued.

Minister Marial noted that it takes time to implement a peace agreement, saying there are areas of grievance that need to be addressed with care and consensus.

On May 30, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to renew for a year, until May 31, 2024, arms embargo measures against South Sudan as well as targeted sanctions of travel bans and asset freezes against individuals and entities.

Resolution 2683, which was adopted with 10 votes in favor and five abstentions, also decides to extend the mandate of the Panel of Experts, which assists the work of the South Sudan Sanctions Committee, until July 1, 2024.

It requests the UN secretary-general, in close consultation with the UN Mission in South Sudan and the Panel of Experts, to conduct, no later than April 15, 2024, an assessment of progress achieved on the key benchmarks set out in Resolution 2577 adopted in 2021.

It also requests the South Sudanese authorities to report, by the same date, to the Sanctions Committee on the progress achieved in this regard.

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