UN Security Council Condemns South Sudanese Leaders’ War Tactics

The United Nations Security Council condemned South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar for their pursuit of military solutions to end a 15-month-old war as it renewed a threat to sanction those seen thwarting a peace agreement.

The two leaders are in “breach of their obligations” by repeatedly violating a truce first agreed on in January 2013, and caused “profound disappointment” when they missed a March 5 regional deadline to establish a transitional government, the council said in a statement on Tuesday.

“In this context the Security Council reiterates its willingness to impose sanctions against those who threaten the peace, security or stability of South Sudan,” it said.

The Security Council established a sanctions regime on March 3 to decide on punitive measures that could include asset freezes, travel bans or an arms embargo. Fighting erupted in Africa’s newest country in December 2013 when the army split following a power struggle within the ruling party.

The aim of the sanctions would be to encourage the formation of a unity government and to urge both sides to “take effective and comprehensive steps to cause forces under direct or indirect control to cease military operations, acts of violence, as well as violations of human rights, and enable full access for humanitarian assistance,” according to the statement.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the civil war and about two million others have forced from their homes. Negotiations overseen by East African leaders that began within three weeks of the conflict starting have failed to end sporadic clashes or result in a political deal.

The council backed an unspecified plan by mediators from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to work with the international community to implement a peaceful solution. It also urged the African Union to release “as soon as possible” an inquiry into the crisis and its causes that hasn’t been made public by the continent’s leaders.

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