WASHINGTON, Aug 20: The United States has proposed imposing new sanctions on South Sudan following a decision by the country’s President Salva Kiir to abandon peace talks with South Sudanese rebels on Monday.
Diplomats at the United Nations (UN) said that the US circulated on Wednesday a draft resolution among members of the UN Security Council that would impose an arms embargo and additional sanctions on South Sudan unless a ceasefire deal is signed by President Kiir to end hostilities between the government and the rebels.
Rebel leader Riek Machar has already signed the peace deal; but, the South Sudanese government has rejected it, describing it as a “sell-out,” a day after returning from the internationally-mediated peace talks in Ethiopia.
Washington’s proposed sanctions come as President Kiir has reportedly acknowledged to US Secretary of State John Kerry in a phone call that he would sign the peace deal after “a couple of more days.”
The UNSC is expected to vote on the resolution “as soon as possible,” said Peter Wilson, Britain’s deputy ambassador to the UN.
New Zealand’s ambassador to the UN, Gerard van Bohemen, said the resolution would impose an arms embargo and additional sanctions.
Currently, three army and three rebel commanders are under UN-imposed sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans.
Tens of thousands have been killed since the conflict started in mid-December 2013 after violence broke out in the country’s oil-rich Juba region.
President Kiir hails from ethnic Dinka people while his former vice president and present rebel leader, Machar, belongs to the Nuer tribe