S. Sudan Talks; IGAD Consulting UNSC On Possible Sanctions

President Salva Kiir (L) and rebel leader Riek Machar
President Salva Kiir (L) and rebel leader Riek Machar

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, the East African organization mediating South Sudan’s peace talks, is consulting the UN Security Council on possible sanctions against parties to the south Sudan conflict.

The consultations follow the indefinite suspension of negotiations on Monday after the SPLM/A-in-Opposition continued to boycott a new round of talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The SPLM/A-in-Opposition led by Dr Riek Machar protested the manner in which the non-government participants were selected for talks.  These include former detainees, political parties, civil society and faith-based organizations. According to the rebel group, representatives should also have been invited from the opposition-held areas as well as those living in exile.

It’s on this basis that the mediation team announced the indefinite adjournment of the peace talks noting that the parties acted in contradiction to the 9 May 2014 Agreement as well as the 10 June 2014 Communiqué which provides for the inclusion and participation of other stakeholders in the negotiations.

IGAD’s mention of the communiqué is significant because in it, East African countries threatened to take “punitive measures” against any party that failed to honor the resolutions of the document. The mediation team earlier this month gave a deadline of 60 days to the parties to finalize talks on the formation of a transitional government, or else face penalties for impeding the peace process.

Now, South Sudan’s former minister of Justice John Luk Jok discloses that the head of the IGAD mediation committee Seyoum Mesfin is expected in New York to submit a report on the progress of the negotiations to the UN Security Council.

He stressed that there is a high possibility that sanctions will be imposed depending on the recommendation of the mediator. He anticipates that travel bans, asset freezes, arms embargoes or other types of punitive sanctions will be considered as possible deterrents.  He however did not elaborate specifically on whom he thought would be targeted

The ex-minister is one of the former political prisoners who were held in detention in Juba from December to January for belonging to a dissident wing of South Sudan’s ruling party. He is now a member of the SPLM-G11.

Last month the United States unilaterally imposed asset freezes against the commander of Salva Kiir’s presidential guard Marial Chanuong and the top rebel General Peter Gadet Yaak.

The American government stated that it would attempt to seize any of their assets that came under control of the US banking system, and it also described the designation of those two leaders as only a ‘first step, Sudanese media reports.

It adds that in late April and May, French and US diplomats at the UN Security Council were reported to be considering a resolution to impose sanctions on South Sudanese leaders. The ambassador of France, one of the permanent members of the Council, was quoted as saying, “I think we are ready to go down the road of sanctions.”

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