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We improved, lift arms embargo- Kiir tells UN

By Mamer Abraham

South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has UN Security Council to lift arms embargo slapped on the country, saying it has made remarkable improvement on security.

The president underlined achievements of his government since in 2018 after signing of a revitalized agreement on resolution of conflict in South Sudan as a basis for lifting of the arms embargo.

Addressing the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York yesterday, the head of state noted that the arms embargo was a sore eye to deployment of the already graduated Necessary Unified Forces (NUF).

Kiir said that despite the fact that the country had made significant progress; a lack of arms could hamper security during the forthcoming December 2024 elections.

“As we move in this direction, we call upon the United Nations to lift the arms embargo imposed on us to aid peace implementation and secure the elections,” Kiir appealed.

“The arms embargo has impeded the implementation of security arrangements because effective deployment of the unified forces, which we have graduated from, cannot happen without arms,” he hinted.

President Kiir assured the UNGA that the country had learned from its previous mistakes, an impression seen in the long-held revitalized peace agreement.

He highlighted major steps made towards development, including the national development strategy 2021–2024 and the national economic conference as a commitment towards economic stability and proper financial management.

“What remains now is to fast-track the implementation of the remaining provisions in the agreement in order to conclude the transitional period peacefully through fair, transparent, and credible elections in 2024,” he continued.

“We have also managed to engage in dialogue and consultation with various stakeholders, including civil society, women, youth, traditional leaders, and opposition groups, to ensure that our peace process is owned and driven by our own people.”

The benchmarks for lifting the arms embargo include the completion of the Strategic Defense and Security Review process, the formation of a unified command structure for the necessary unified forces (NUF), and the implementation of the Joint Action Plan for the Armed Forces on addressing conflict-related sexual violence.

Prior to the renewal of the arms embargo, the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan stated that there was no progress made on the establishment and implementation of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) or the proper management of existing arms and ammunition stockpiles.

On May 30, the UN Security Council renewed the arms embargo imposed on the country for a year as it monitored the progress the government would make towards meeting the benchmarks set for lifting the embargo.

This means that the country is not allowed to procure arms and ammunition, as well as armored vehicles until the benchmarks are met.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres decried the lack of funding for the DDR process by the revitalized transitional government of national unity (R-TGoNU).

But so far, the deployment of the graduated, necessary unified forces is stuck because the parties to the agreement are in a deadlock over the middle echelon of the unified forces command.

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