UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Angola said on Friday it has proposed that the United Nations Security Council impose an arms embargo on South Sudan, where more than 10,000 people have been killed in a two year civil war sparked by a political dispute between the country’s leaders.
The United Nations said last week that South Sudan’s warring parties are killing, abducting and displacing civilians and destroying property despite conciliatory rhetoric by President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar.
“The situation evolves and you have to evolve with the situation. Now what is necessary to do is an arms embargo,” said Angola’s U.N. Ambassador Ismael Abraao Gaspar Martins. “We have proposed, I hope everybody goes with it.”
Angola is an elected member of the Security Council.
British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft on Friday backed the proposed arms embargo.
“In South Sudan, half the population is in need of humanitarian assistance. It is clear that despite the peace agreement, the continued fighting is further entrenching the humanitarian crisis. That is why the UK is calling for an arms embargo now,” he said.
Veto-power Russia said last month it was opposed to an arms embargo on South Sudan or blacklisting Kiir and Machar as such moves were not helpful to the implementation of a peace deal agreed by the pair in August.
After months of ineffective negotiations and failed ceasefires, both sides agreed in January to share positions in a transitional government, and earlier this month Kiir re-appointed Machar to his former post as vice president.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Kiir and Machar, who was reappointed to his old post this month, would face individual sanctions if they did not deliver on the peace deal, warning of a “critical moment for South Sudan’s survival”.
The conflict in South Sudan, whose 2011 secession from Sudan had long enjoyed the support of the United States, has torn apart the world’s youngest country.
U.N. peacekeepers are sheltering nearly 200,000 people at six protection sites in South Sudan and more than 2.3 million people have been displaced. The conflict has reopened ethnic fault lines between Kiir’s Dinka and Machar’s Nuer people.
A U.N. panel that monitors the conflict in South Sudan for the Security Council stated last month that Kiir and Machar are still completely in charge of their forces and are therefore directly to blame for killing civilians.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Diane Craft