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South Sudan says arms embargo stalling implementation of peace deal

Juba, South Sudan | Xinhua | South Sudan said Tuesday that the arms embargo imposed on it is stalling the implementation of the security arrangement in the revitalized agreement on resolving the conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

Michael Makuei Lueth, the minister for Information, Communications Technology and Postal Services, said the government had graduated the Necessary Unified Forces without arms and once they are deployed will not be able to provide security due to a lack of armaments.

“A soldier is not a soldier as long as he or she is in full uniform without a rifle but those we graduated with sticks are the ones that now the international community is telling us to deploy them, okay we will deploy them with sticks, will they protect you?” posed Makuei.

“There will be no difference between them and myself who are not armed,” he added during a briefing in Juba, South Sudan’s capital.

South Sudan completed the graduation of 52,000 Necessary Unified Forces including the Police, National Security Service, Wildlife Service, Prison Service, VIP Protection Forces, and Civil Defense Services without arms and the forces are yet to be deployed.

Makuei renewed an appeal to the international community to lift the arms embargo so they could deploy the Unified forces with arms and implement the agreement speedily.

“Our appeal to the international community is to reconsider that arms embargo so that we arm these soldiers and deploy them, the only item remaining is the arms embargo which is an obstacle and will continue to be an obstacle as long as that arms embargo is not lifted and to me, this is an obstruction of the implementation of the agreement,” Makuei said.

Shortly after its independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan plunged into civil war.

Up to 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed during the skirmishes that erupted in December 2013. In addition, more than 1.5 million people have fled to neighboring countries, while others are internally displaced.

The UN sanctions have been in place since 2015. The UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan in July 2018 in response to hostilities and peace agreement violations between the former rebels and the country’s army.

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