LAST_UPDATEMon, 23 Jul 2018 8pm

S. Sudan Says Int'l Pressure Not Needed Amid Positive Peace Gains

Mawien Makol AriikMawien Makol Ariik

JUBA -- South Sudan on Wednesday termed international pressure to impose arms embargo as uncalled for as the warring parties have recently shown flexibility after agreeing to permanent truce and security arrangements crucial for peace.

Mawien Makol Ariik, spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Xinhua in Juba that pressure from international partners under the Troika, which includes the US, Britain and Norway, is not necessary because the warring parties have already reached compromise on some of the hitherto sticky issues.

"There should not be much pressure because there is breakthrough. We need to be given more time to discuss," said Ariik. "What we need is support from the international community."

His remarks came after it emerged on Tuesday that the United States plans to push the United Nations Security Council to impose arms embargo on South Sudan until May 2019 due to frustrations over the failure by the warring parties to cease hostilities.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, the leader of the main rebel group -- the Sudan People's Liberation Army-in opposition (SPLA-IO), agreed on permanent cease-fire on June 27 in Khartoum after face-to-face talks mediated by Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir under the auspices of the east African bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

The cease-fire, however, was violated in less than 72 hours.

"IGAD should be given a chance to broker peace. This is exactly what the (South Sudan) government wants," Makol said.

The South Sudan warring parties also recently reached compromise on security arrangement and also moved to discuss power-sharing that would see Machar return to his former post as first vice president.

The United States imposed sanctions, including travel and asset freeze, in 2017 on several senior South Sudanese government and rebel officials for obstructing peace efforts.

The United Nations also imposed sanctions on senior military officials from government and rebel forces.

South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, creating one of the fastest-growing refugee crises in the world. A 2015 peace agreement was shattered when the warring parties renewed fighting in July 2016 in the capital, forcing rebel leader Machar to flee into exile.

The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.