*UN demands South Sudan cooperate on regional forcé/ AFP 15.09.16*
The UN Security Council on Wednesday urged South Sudan's government to take
immediate steps to allow a new regional force to deploy in Juba as it
weighed imposing an arms embargo.
Following a closed-door meeting, New Zealand Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen,
who holds the council presidency, said it was time for "actions, not words"
from President Salva Kiir's government.
The council voted last month to deploy the 4,000-strong regional protection
force (RPF) in Juba, which will be under the command of the UN peacekeeping
The new force will help provide security in the capital and at the airport,
and help protect UN facilities after Juba was rocked by heavy fighting in
Council members "call on the government to abide by the commitments it made
and to translate them into concrete steps immediately," Van Bohemen said
following the meeting.
"They called on the government to finalize with the United Nations the
modalities for the deployment," he told reporters.
After initially opposing the force, Kiir this month agreed to the
deployment during talks with council ambassadors who traveled to Juba for
meetings with the leadership.
UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said the joint communique agreed
between the United Nations and the Juba government on the deployment of the
force "had not been acted upon at all".
Ladsous said it was now up to the council to decide on the next steps.
In the resolution, the council threatened to impose an arms embargo on
South Sudan if the government blocks the regional force or impedes the work
of UN peacekeepers.
- Russia opposes arms embargo -
US Ambassador Samantha Power said Kiir's government must quickly show that
it will follow up on its commitment or it will face an arms embargo.
"If the government of South Sudan does not allow the regional protection
force to deploy or does not allow the UN to move in a way that it needs to
move to protect civilians, the United States certainly will support an arms
embargo," Power told reporters.
But Russian Deputy Ambassador Petr Iliichev said Moscow does not support a
ban on arms sales to South Sudan, arguing that it would not help advance
"The government is going to stop the cooperation" with the United Nations
if an arms embargo is imposed, Iliichev said.
"It will get them deeper into the trenches."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the council in a report last week
that the first advance teams of the new force could begin arriving in Juba
by the end of this month.
Ban said he would report to the council in October on whether South Sudan's
government is cooperating.
If he finds it is not cooperating, that would trigger a vote at the council
on the proposed arms embargo.
New Zealand's ambassador said the council was ready to consider "the
appropriate next steps" including a possible arms embargo.
South Sudan descended into war in December 2013 after 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.
Aside from the tens of thousands of people killed in the conflict, the
United Nations has reported shocking levels of brutality including gang
rapes and the wholesale burning of villages.
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