Just a few weeks after a peace treaty was signed between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, the brutal fighting in the country has continued. And, in a new development, officials from Russia, Angola and Venezuela have expressed their opposition to the United States’ proposal to place a travel ban and asset freeze on South Sudanese army chief Paul Malong and rebel general Johnson Olony.
The signed peace treaty came 20 months after civil war erupted in South Sudan. President Kiir accused his then former deputy Machar of trying to stage a coup. Machar denied the accusations but then mobilized and led rebel forces to fight the government. The fighting has resulted in thousands dead and has displaced over 2.2 million people from their homes.
In the past, at least seven ceasefires have been agreed to by both sides - but then fell apart. Therefore, the United States wants to impose pressure on Kiir and Machar to ensure the newest treaty succeeds.
The United States proposed the travel ban and asset freeze measures to the United Nations Security Council as American officials believe Malong and Olony are continuing to fuel conflict in the country, despite the peace treaty.
However, not every country feels the United States’ approach is the correct one. Russia’s United Nations ambassador Vitaly Churkin believes sanctions are not appropriate at this time. He stated that, “The United States, very often they just say: ‘Sanctions, sanctions, sanctions,’ and in some cases it severely aggravates the situation.”
Venezuela and Angola did not want to reject the American proposals but wishes them to placed on hold as diplomats wish to give the parties more time to implement the peace deal. As a result, the United Nations will not consider the proposals right away.
Earlier this week, Kiir reiterated his many concerns with the conditions of the peace deal but ultimately pledged his commitment to the treaty and to bringing peace to the country.