NAIROBI AUGUST 23, 2016 (CISA) – US Secretary of State John Kerry has urged South Sudan’s leaders to fully implement a previously signed peace deal or face a UN arms embargo and sanctions.
“It’s really up to the people, the leadership of South Sudan to lead and to do the things that they’ve promised to do,” Kerry said today in an interview with South Sudan’s “Eye Radio” broadcast, Reuters reported.
“If they don’t, then obviously it may be that the UN arms embargo and sanctions are going to be the tools of last resort. It’s not what people wanted to have to do, but our hope is that the government, the transition government will seize the bull by the horns here and get the job done,” he added.
His warning followed meetings in Nairobi on Monday August 23 with President Uhuru Kenyatta and foreign ministers from Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan to discuss escalating violence in South Sudan and the deployment of a UN protection force.
Kerry said his return to Kenya is due “to the need to improve business relations, boost counter-terrorism measures and stabilise the region from civil war.”
Fighting in South Sudan’s capital Juba last month prompted the United Nations to authorize the deployment of 4,000 extra UN troops to bolster a UN mission there, warning South Sudan it would face an arms embargo if it did not cooperate.
South Sudan’s government initially said it would not cooperate with the new UN troops which will be under the command of the 12,000-strong UNMISS mission. But since then it has said it was still considering its position.
According to Kerry, the force was not an intervention force that would challenge the sovereignty of the country and that its main task would be to protect property and civilians in Juba.
South Sudan secured its independence in 2011, but by December 2013 the longtime political rivalry between President Salva Kiir, and former Vice President Riek Machar, led to civil conflict which has killed thousands of people and driven more than 2 million people from their homes according to the UN.