U.S. imposes arms embargo on S. Sudan

3:38 am, February 04, 2018

The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is imposing a U.S. arms embargo on civil war-torn South Sudan while urging the United Nations and other countries to do the same.

The State Department said Friday the United States is restricting all sales of defense equipment and services to all parties to South Sudan’s conflict, saying it is “appalled” by the continuing violence that has defied a ceasefire. It’s mostly symbolic since the United States has almost no defense trade with the East African country in the first place.

The United States is also calling on South Sudan’s neighbors to implement similar arms restrictions and urging the U.N. Security Council to support a global embargo on the country. “The message must be clear — the United States, the region and the international community will not stand idly by as innocent South Sudanese civilians are murdered,” the statement said.

Late last month, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley announced that the United States had given up on South Sudan’s leader after investing more than $11 billion in the country, and she called President Salva Kiir an “unfit partner” in the pursuit of peace.

Untold tens of thousands of people have been killed in the civil war that erupted in December 2013 after tensions between supporters of Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his deputy Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer. Machar is now in exile. The United Nations and others have warned of ethnic violence, the recruitment of thousands of child soldiers and the widespread use of rape as a weapon of war.

The number of South Sudanese refugees could reach 3 million by the end of this year, Africa’s largest refugee crisis since Rwanda’s genocide in 1994, the United Nations said Thursday.

The United States in the last days of the Obama administration tried and failed to have the U.N. Security Council impose an arms embargo on South Sudan.

Haley has urged the council to impose an embargo, but Russia and China remain opposed.

The world’s youngest country won independence from Sudan in 2011, and later that year the United States clarified that its arms embargo on Sudan didn’t apply to the new nation.

Frustration with South Sudan’s government and rebels has been rising. The latest ceasefire, which went into effect Dec. 24, was violated within hours.

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