May 29, 2018 (JUBA) - The United Nations Security is short of a vote required to impose sanctions on five senior South Sudanese officials, Gordon Buay, an envoy at its embassy in the United States disclosed.
Buay, the chargé d’affairs at South Sudan’s embassy in the U.S., said seven countries made it clear they will not support a U.S. resolution calling for a travel ban and asset freezes of five South Sudan nationals.
“In order for the draft resolution to be adopted by the Security Council, the U.S. must get nine votes out of fifteen. However, the U.S. failed to get nine. Washington got only eight,” he told Sudan Tribune Monday.
The diplomat named Russia, China, Bolivia, Kuwait, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea as some of the seven countries which did not support the resolution seeking imposition of sanctions against top officials seen as an obstacle to the peace process in the country.
The bid to sanction the South Sudanese officials is the latest by the UN body, which had initially sanctioned several government officials and military officers for playing a negative role in the efforts aimed to resolve the conflict through peaceful dialogue and political compromises.
The Council, according to a draft proposal by Washington, seeks to impose sanctions on Defence Minister, Kuol Manyang and Cabinet Affairs Minister, Martin Elia Lomuro, former army chief Paul Malong Awan, Minister of Information Michael Makuei Lueth and the country’s deputy army chief of defence for logistics, Malek Reuben.
The rebel-appointed governor of South Sudan’s Bieh State, Koang Rambang, is also on the list of those listed for possible UN sanctions.
However, while these officials have been accused of obstructing peace efforts and blocking humanitarian assistance to civilians, the defence minister is in addition accused of having supplied the Sudanese rebel group (SPLA-N) with arms which were in turn used to attack Pagak, leading to the expulsion of the armed opposition groups last year.
Media reports indicate that Security Council is due to meet for negotiations on the draft on Tuesday and a vote is scheduled for Thursday. A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by Russia, China, France, Britain or the United States to pass.
In the latest informal meeting in this respect, Russian and China said they would abstain in the vote of 31 May. Ethiopia, which chairs the IGAD, said against the vote pointing the initiative should be from the region but indicated it would abstain also, even if it has no veto vote.
The UN already sanctioned several senior South Sudanese officials on both sides of the conflict in 2015, but a US bid to impose an arms embargo in December 2016 failed. In 2016, the U.S. imposed a travel ban and asset freezes on six officials from government and the opposition.
General Marial Chaunuong, Gen Jok Riak, and Gen Santino Deng Wol were sanctioned on the government side while General Peter Gatdet, General James Koang Chuol and General Gatwech Dual were sanctioned on the side of the armed opposition movement.
In 2017, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Malek, Malong, and Lueth for playing a negative role in the country’s peace process.