UN sees no concrete action from South Sudan on regional force

2016-10-12 06:04
Ban Ki-moon. (AFP)

Ban Ki-moon. (AFP)

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New York - South Sudan's government has yet to take concrete steps to allow a UN-mandated regional force to deploy in Juba, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council.

In a letter to the council late on Monday, Ban said the Juba government still has reservations about the composition of the proposed 4 000-strong force and the areas of deployment.

While the government has indicated it is ready to accept the new UN force, "these commitments have not yet translated into concrete actions on the ground," Ban wrote.

The council voted in August to deploy the regional protection force (RPF), which will be under the command of the UN mission known as UNMISS, which has 16 000 peacekeepers.

The new force will help provide security in the capital and at the airport, and step up protection of UN facilities after Juba was rocked by heavy fighting in July.

The council has threatened to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan if the government blocks the deployment, but that would require a vote on a new resolution.

Ban did not specify in his report whether the council should move to impose the ban on arms deliveries.

US Deputy Ambassador David Pressman said he expected a "robust discussion" at the council on the next steps when the council meets on Monday to discuss South Sudan.

"If we find that there is not enough full cooperation, then yes, it will definitely be time to look at an arms embargo," said British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft.

Significant limitations

In his letter, Ban said the Juba government had proposed "significant limitations" to the new force which it said should only protect UN compounds and installations.

"These limitations clearly contravene the intention of resolution 2304" setting up the force, wrote Ban.

Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda will contribute infantry troops to the new force and Rwanda has also offered to deploy tactical helicopters, which South Sudan has in the past opposed, he added.

South Sudan descended into war in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup.

During the fighting in July, Machar, who had been persuaded to return to Juba to join a national unity government, fled the country and is now in Khartoum, having been replaced by Taban Deng Gai in Juba.

Ban told the council he was "extremely concerned" by Machar's recent call for renewed war and stressed the need for a political process to finally put an end to the war.

Tens of thousands of people have died and more than 2.5 million have been driven from their homes in the nearly three-year war, which has been marked by appalling levels of rape and killings.

Read more on:    un  |  riek machar  |  salva kiir  |  ban ki-moon  |  south sudan  |  east africa

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