We Must Take Real Steps, Says United States, as Ethiopia, Others Stress Need to Give Regional Mediation Efforts More Time
The Security Council voted this afternoon to renew for 45 days the sanctions it imposed in 2015 on those blocking peace in South Sudan, with the option of considering further measures — including an arms embargo — if fighting continues amid ongoing mediation efforts, or if there remains no viable political agreement.
It took that action by a vote of 9 in favour (Côte d’Ivoire, France, Kuwait, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States) and none against, with 6 abstentions (Bolivia, China, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation).
Acting under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council adopted resolution 2418 (2018), renewing the measures and provisions contained in resolution 2206 of 3 March 2015, which established the sanctions regime, until 15 July. By that text, it also decided to renew until 14 August the mandate of the Panel of Experts overseeing the sanctions imposed on South Sudan, with instructions to provide the Council with an update every month.
The Council went on to request that the Secretary-General, in coordination with the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism, to report by 30 June on whether any fighting had taken place in South Sudan involving parties to the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access of 17 December 2017, and to report on whether the parties had come to a viable political agreement.
According to the text, if the Secretary-General reported such fighting, or a lack of a viable political agreement, then the Council would consider applying targeted sanctions — including a travel ban and asset freeze — on six individuals named in Annex I of the resolution, and/or an arms embargo, within five days. Identified in Annex I were Koang Rambang Chol, Kuol Manyang Juuk, Malek Reuben Riak Rengu, Martin Elia Lomuro, Michael Makuei Lueth and Paul Malong Awan.
Speaking before the vote, the representative of the United States recalled her recent visit to South Sudan and the ongoing horrific abuses occurring there and said the Council should be putting real pressure on South Sudan’s leaders to end the fighting, yet it had not imposed an arms embargo, nor sanctioned any new individuals since 2015. The United States had lost patience, she said, adding that it was long past time to demand better for South Sudan’s people. “We must stop making excuses and take real steps to end the conflict,” she emphasized.
Ethiopia’s representative, however, said South Sudan’s seemingly insurmountable problems could only be addressed through an all-inclusive political process, on which some progress had recently been made. Efforts by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) — chaired by Ethiopia — were at a “very critical moment” and adopting the text would be detrimental to the peace process, he said, stressing that it would have been sensible for the Council to give IGAD a chance, and that waiting two months would not have caused the sky to fall.
Speaking after the vote, the Russian Federation’s representative said it was wrong-headed to threaten sanctions against those involved in negotiations, adding that artificial timelines were unacceptable. The Russian Federation also rejected the “damaging and disrespectful position” taken by the penholder vis-à-vis its Council colleagues, he added.
South Sudan’s representative said “there is a light at the end of the tunnel” in the IGAD negotiation process, and that the annex to the resolution containing the six names was unhelpful in that regard. Nevertheless, the Government of South Sudan would work closely with regional partners to achieve lasting peace, he said.
Also speaking today were representatives of Equatorial Guinea, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, China, Bolivia, France and Kazakhstan.
The meeting began at 3:17 p.m. and ended at 3:59 p.m.
The full text of resolution 2418 (2018) reads as follows:
NIKKI R. HALEY (United States), describing her recent visit to South Sudan, said horrific abuses were taking place as the country’s leaders failed to protect its people. Women and girls — some as young as four years old — had been subjected to rape, while millions had been displaced. The Council should be putting real pressure on South Sudan’s leaders to end the fighting, yet it had not imposed an arms embargo, nor sanctioned any new individuals since 2015, she noted. Indeed, one sanctioned official had been promoted to Chief of Defence Forces. The United States had lost patience, she emphasized, adding that it was long past time to demand better for South Sudan’s people. The international community must take concrete action to hold those responsible to account. The draft resolution would extend the sanctions regime by 45 days, she said, urging all Council members to support it. She went on to express concern that South Sudan’s children would grow up uneducated, unskilled and resentful, saying they deserved a better future, and warning that failure by the Council’s to take action would deny them that future. “We must stop making excuses and take real steps to end the conflict.”
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said the situation in South Sudan worried everyone, but the country’s seemingly insurmountable problems could only be addressed through an all-inclusive political process, on which some progress had recently been made. He acknowledged that the slow pace of the political process was creating a lot of frustration, he said efforts by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), including a bridging proposal, were a “very critical moment”. If adopted, the draft resolution would be detrimental to the peace process and “a very, very tragic development”. He emphasized that there had been a clear understanding on the part of IGAD, the African Union and the United Nations on the need to coordinate efforts and push the process forward, he emphasized. That unity of purpose and complementarity of efforts had dictated IGAD’s work.
He went on to caution that for the Council to take action without calibrating its position would be harmful and seriously undermine the peace process at a time when there were encouraging signs that a compromise political outcome could be within reach. The possibility that the peace process could collapse could not be ruled out, he warned, pointing out that those closer to the problem might be closer to the truth. It was ironic that the draft resolution was being proposed at a time when IGAD had reaffirmed its commitment to action against spoilers, he said, noting that the IGAD Council of Ministers was meeting today to discuss the report of the transitional monitoring mechanism. It was evident that IGAD was resolved to take punitive measures against those commanders directly involved in violations of the cessation-of-hostilities agreement. It would have been sensible for the Council to give IGAD a chance at such a critical moment, he emphasized, adding that waiting two months would not have caused the sky to fall.
Recalling that Ethiopia had recently been trying to convey that message to the penholder in good faith, he pointed out that the draft resolution did not enjoy the support of IGAD or the African Union, nor did it enjoy consensus among Council members. Warning that a divided Council would not be helpful to the peace process or send the right message to the parties, he said that since his delegation’s concerns had unfortunately not been taken into account, it was forced to abstain. It had a responsibility, as the Chair of IGAD and a country intimately involved in mediation efforts, to salvage the peace process. Politics was the art of the possible, and the conduct of diplomacy was not to vent frustration, yet that was what the draft resolution was about, he said, underlining that the text was manifestly harmful to the peace process. IGAD and the African Union hoped it would not drive the parties away from the peace process.
JOB OBIANG ESONO MBENGONO (Equatorial Guinea) said his delegation would not support the draft resolution because its annexed list of individuals targeted for sanctions would be an obstacle to negotiations already under way on the ground. Until the African Union deemed otherwise, IGAD remained the most appropriate forum for those talks. Recalling that the negotiators had asked for more time, he emphasized: “It is important to give them that time.” Also important was to hold a face-to-face meeting between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, he said, stressing: “Another opportunity must be given to dialogue.” Noting that all countries supported efforts to resume negations, he said the only questions were when, and under whose auspices, they would be held. IGAD had promised to deliver on specific proposals, including exerting additional pressure on the parties and possibly imposing sanctions, and it should be permitted time to do so if necessary, he said.
By a vote of 9 in favour (Côte d’Ivoire, France, Kuwait, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States) to none against, with 6 abstentions (Bolivia, China, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation), the Council then adopted the text as resolution 2418 (2018).
JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom), expressing support for the IGAD-led negotiation efforts, said it was nevertheless clear that the parties were still not ready to reach agreement on peace. Horrific reports of violence and human rights abuses continued, characterized by multiple ceasefire violations, allegations of rape and the use of child soldiers. “This cannot be allowed to continue,” he emphasized, echoing the Ethiopian delegate’s calls for an inclusive process that would address the conflict’s root causes through a lasting political solution. The resolution was an important step towards increasing pressure on the parties to compromise, he said. “Let it be a clear message to the parties and those who wish to prevent peace going forward.” While Council members might be divided over the text itself, they remained unified in their desire for peace in South Sudan.
KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands) said the Council had given a strong signal that there was an urgent need for full commitment to a cessation of hostilities and a political agreement. If the parties kept behaving solely on the basis of self-interest, the Council would consider serious consequences, he said, emphasizing that it was now up to South Sudan’s leaders to demonstrate that they were serious about peace.
CARL ORRENIUS SKAU (Sweden) said his delegation shared the deep sense of frustration over the intransigence of South Sudan’s leaders, but repeated violations of commitments made by the parties must have consequences. Expressing deep regret that the Council had failed to adopt the resolution by consensus, he said the text could have been better coordinated with regional efforts. He went on to call upon IGAD and the wider region to continue efforts towards a peaceful solution, and urged the parties to respect the cessation of hostilities.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said his delegation had abstained from the vote. While urging the parties to quickly find a compromise solution in the interest of the whole population, he emphasized that it was wrong-headed to threaten sanctions against those involved in negotiations. Genuine support must be given to IGAD’s mediation efforts, he said, adding that artificial timelines were unacceptable. He said that his delegation doubted that imposing sanctions against members of the Government and an arms embargo could have a positive role in advancing a political settlement and normalizing the security situation. The Russian Federation also rejected the “damaging and disrespectful position” taken by the penholder vis-à-vis its Council colleagues, he added.
SHEN BO (China), expressing support for regional mediation efforts, said that process was currently at a critical stage. China had long emphasized that sanctions were a means to an end, not an end in themselves, and that the Council should exercise caution in imposing them. Noting that the annex to the resolution listed several high-level Government officials, he cautioned that imposing those measures would not be conducive to the peace process, but would instead further complicate the situation. For those reasons, China had decided to abstain, he said.
SACHA SERGIO LORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia) said his delegation had abstained because the resolution’s drafters had not listened to its views on the annex. Bolivia supported IGAD’s work, including the possibility of imposing sanctions on those who interfered in the peace process, but such sensitive matters must be agreed with all regional and subregional actors, he emphasized. Concerned that the Council had acted unanimously, he stressed that it must be careful to send the right message.
ANTOINE IGNACE MICHON (France), noting that his delegation had voted in favour of the text, stressed that “this Council cannot remain inactive” in the face of violence on the ground. The parties should work to reach a solution in the next few weeks, and the international community — including IGAD, African Union, Security Council and others — should all remain active in establishing the right conditions for that progress to succeed.
KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) said his delegation had abstained because the position and concerns of countries in the region vis-à-vis the timing of the resolution had not been adequately taken into account. It was critically important that the Council remain united in supporting IGAD and African Union efforts while giving a chance to Government officials participating in the negotiations, he emphasized. Kazakhstan opposed the annex to the resolution, which named officials potentially subject to sanctions before the results of mediation efforts were seen, he explained.
AKUEI BONA MALWAL (South Sudan) said “there is a light at the end of the tunnel” in the IGAD negotiation process, and the annex to the resolution was unhelpful in that regard. Nevertheless, the Government of South Sudan would work closely with regional partners to achieve lasting peace, he said.
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions and statements on South Sudan, in particular resolutions 2057 (2012), 2109 (2013), 2132 (2013), 2155 (2014), 2187 (2014), 2206 (2015), 2241 (2015), 2252 (2015), 2271 (2016), 2280 (2016), 2290 (2016), 2302 (2016), 2304 (2016), 2327 (2016), 2353 (2017), 2392 (2017) and 2406 (2018),
“Condemning in the strongest terms the ongoing fighting in violation of the 21 December 2017 ‘Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians, and Humanitarian Access’, reiterating its demand that South Sudan’s leaders implement the permanent ceasefire declared in the 2015 ‘Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan’ and ceasefires for which they respectively called on 11 July 2016 and 22 May 2017, as well as the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians, and Humanitarian Access, and calling on South Sudanese parties to demonstrate the political will to peacefully resolve the conflict,
“Determining that the situation in South Sudan continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,
“Acting under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Decides to renew until 15 July 2018 the measures imposed by paragraphs 9 and 12 of resolution 2206 (2015), and reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 10, 11, 13, 14 and 15 of resolution 2206 (2015), and the provisions of paragraphs 8, 9 and 10 of resolution 2290 (2016);
“2. Decides to extend until 14 August 2018 the mandate of the Panel of Experts as set out in subparagraphs a, b, c and f of paragraph 12 of resolution 2290 (2016), and decides that the Panel of Experts should provide to the Committee updates each month, and expresses its intention to review the mandate and take appropriate action regarding the further extension of the mandate no later than 15 July 2018;
“3. Requests the Secretary-General, in coordination with the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism, to report by 30 June 2018 whether any fighting has taken place since adoption of this resolution involving parties to the cessation of hostilities agreement in South Sudan and to report on whether the parties have come to a viable political agreement and decides that if the Secretary-General reports such fighting or lack of a viable political agreement, it shall consider applying the measures specified in paragraphs 9 and 12 of resolution 2206 (2015) to the individuals identified in Annex 1 to this resolution and/or an arms embargo within five days of the Secretary-General’s report;
“4. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”
Travel Ban/Asset Freeze (Individuals)
1. (1) Koang (2) Rambang (3) Chol
a. Description: Rambang led attacks in Bieh State that expanded or extended the conflict in South Sudan. He ordered his forces to restrict the movement of people working in humanitarian organizations. He was responsible for the detention of two pilots delivering aid, obstructing their humanitarian activities.
b. A.K.A.: (a) Koang (b) Rambang (c) Chuol
c. Identifiers: na
2. (1) Kuol (2) Manyang (3) Juuk
a. Description: Under Juuk’s command, SPLA forces violated the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians, and Humanitarian Access after it was signed by the Government of South Sudan in 2017 by attacking civilians. Juuk provided military equipment to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), in violation of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians, and Humanitarian Access. In 2017, under Juuk’s command the SPLM expanded or extended the conflict through offensives in Pagak.
b. A.K.A.: (a) Kuol (b) Manyang (c) Juuk Chaw
c. Identifiers: DOB: 1945
3. (1) Malek (2) Reuben (3) Riak (4) Rengu
a. Description: As SPLA Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Riak was one of the senior officials of the Government of South Sudan who planned and oversaw an offensive in 2015 that resulted in widespread destruction and large population displacement.
b. A.K.A.: (1) Malek (2) Ruben
c. Identifiers: DOB: 01 Jan 1960
4. (1) Martin (2) Elia (3) Lomuro
a. Description: In violation of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians, and Humanitarian Access signed by the Government of South Sudan in 2017, Lomuro threatened members of the press, obstructed humanitarian missions and threatened to eliminate the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism. Lomuro also obstructed the activities of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
b. A.K.A.: (a) Martin (b) Elia (c) Lomoro; (a) Martin (b) Elias (c) Lomoro
c. Identifiers: DOB: (a) November 20, 1957 or (b) December 1958
5. (1) Michael (2) Makuei (3) Lueth
a. Description: Makuei expanded or extended the conflict in South Sudan through planning and coordinating a 2014 attack on the UN compound sheltering internally displaced persons in Bor. He obstructed the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity, and worked to obstruct deployment of the Regional Protection Force of UNMISS. As Minister for Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Postal Services he has overseen attempts to repress the freedom of expression of civilians through the suppression of publications. He worked to close a UN-operated radio station authorized by the Status of Forces Agreement between the Government and the UN.
b. A.K.A.: (a) Michael Makwei (b) Michael Makwei Lueth (c) Michael Makuei Lueth Makuei
c. Identifiers: DOB: 1947; POB: (a) Bor, South Sudan (b) Bor, Sudan; Nationality: (a) South Sudan (b) Sudan (c) Kenya
6. (1) Paul (2) Malong (3) Awan
a. Description: As Chief of General Staff of the SPLA, Malong expanded or extended the conflict in South Sudan through breaches of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and breaches of the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan. He reportedly directed efforts to kill opposition leader Riek Machar. He ordered SPLA units to prevent the transport of humanitarian supplies. Under Malong’s leadership, the SPLA attacked civilians, schools and hospitals; forced the displacement of civilians; carried out enforced disappearances; arbitrarily detained civilians; and conducted acts of torture and rape. He mobilized the Mathiang Anyoor Dinka tribal militia, which uses child soldiers. Under his leadership, the SPLA restricted UNMISS, JMEC and CTSAMM access to sites to investigate and document abuses.
b. A.K.A.: (a) Paul Malong Awan Anei (b) Paul Malong (c) Bol Malong
c. Identifiers: DOB: 1962; Alt DOB: (a) 4 December 1960 or (b) 12 April 1960; POB: Malualkon, South Sudan; Nationality: (a) South Sudan (b) Uganda; Passport Nos.: (a) South Sudan S00004370 (b) South Sudan D00001369 (c) Sudan 003606 (d) Sudan 00606 (e) Sudan B002606.