The UN Security Council has extended by 45 days sanctions against South Sudan.
The resolution passed 9 “yes” votes and six abstentions from the 15 member Security Council, giving just enough votes for the draft to be adopted as Resolution 2418.
The adoption of a Security Council resolution needs nine affirmative votes on the condition that none of the five permanent members of the council — UK, China, France, Russia, and the U. S., vetoes it.
Resolution 2418 renews a travel ban and asset freeze against designated individuals and entities until July 15.
It also renews the mandate of the Panel of Experts, who assist the work of the sanctions committee, until Aug. 14, 2018.
The resolution decides that six individuals — high-ranking government officials and prominent rebel leaders — should be subject to the travel ban and asset freeze unless the parties stop fighting and agree on a viable political agreement.
The resolution also threatens to impose an arms embargo.
The six individuals are: Koang Rambang Chol, a high-ranking opposition military official; Kuol Juuk, South Sudan’s defence minister; Malek Rengu, the former deputy chief of staff of South Sudan’s army; Martin Lomuro, South Sudan’s cabinet affairs minister; Michael Lueth, South Sudan’s information minister; Paul Awan, former chief of staff of South Sudan’s army who rebelled in 2017.
Prior to the vote, Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Nations Tekeda Alemu warned that the adoption of the U.S. resolution would be detrimental to the peace process in South Sudan as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a sub-regional bloc, is at a critical moment in brokering peace.
Ethiopia is hosting the IGAD-sponsored South Sudan High-Level Revitalization Forum in Addis Ababa.
“The possibility that the peace process might totally collapse — God forbid — as a consequence of this (adoption) could not be ruled out,” warned the ambassador.
He proposed that the Security Council instead approve a technical roll-over of the current sanctions regime without adding names to the sanctions list.
“Waiting for two months would not have caused the sky to fall,” he said, adding that the South Sudan crisis can only be addressed through an all-inclusive process, regarding which progress is being made.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council that her country has lost patience.
“The U. S. has lost its patience. The status quo is unacceptable. It is long past time for all of us to demand better for the South Sudanese people,” she told the council before the vote.
Shortly after its independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan plunged into a civil war.
Up to 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed since late 2013.
No fewer than 1.5 million people have fled to neighboring countries, and many more are internally displaced.
UN officials have said repeatedly that the South Sudan crisis is a man-made tragedy, blaming it on greedy politicians.