UNSC to impose bans on South Sudan warring sides

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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has adopted a resolution to impose sanctions on the two conflicting sides in South Sudan as a deadline for reaching a peace agreement draws near.

A general view of the UN Security Council in sessionOn Tuesday, the UNSC unanimously voted in favor of imposing global travel bans and assets freeze against individuals loyal to rebel leader, Riek Machar, and President Salva Kiir, who have blocked peace efforts.

Under the US-drafted resolution, a sanctions committee tasked with submitting a list of the individuals to the 15-member UN body will be set up.

The resolution warns that those who “threaten the peace, security, and stability of South Sudan” by obstructing peace talks, impeding humanitarian aid deliveries, recruiting child soldiers, or attacking UN peacekeepers could be targeted by sanctions.

China and Russia had previously criticized the resolution, saying it could be unhelpful and “hasty.”

The resolution was passed after the Juba government and rebels resumed their final round of peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, earlier Tuesday.

The negotiations are mediated by regional states and the two Sudanese sides have until March 5 to reach an inclusive deal to stop 14 months of violence in the African state.

Earlier in the day, a rebel spokesman, Puoch Riek Deng, said the negotiations between Machar the South Sudanese president are deadlocked and the only way out of the current impasse is for Kiir to make serious concessions on certain issues such as power sharing and wealth.

This comes as the South Sudanese army summoned the leader of the Shilluk militia group to be questioned over the recruitment of hundreds of boys as child soldiers.

South Sudan plunged into chaos in December 2013, when fighting erupted between troops loyal to Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy, Machar, around the capital, Juba.

Sporadic violence still persists in parts of South Sudan as the rebels and government blame each other for violating multiple truce agreements since the bloodshed erupted in the world’s newest nation in December 2013.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the start of the conflict, while 1.5 million have been displaced and 2.5 million more are reported to be in dire need of food aid in South Sudan, which declared its independence from Sudan in 2011.

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