South Sudan Caucus Commends Administration’s Arms Embargo Announcement
WASHINGTON, DC – On Friday, February 2nd, the Department of State announced a U.S. ban on the export of defense articles and defense services into South Sudan. State also called on the United Nations Security Council to implement an international arms embargo, urged South Sudan’s neighbors to cut off the flow of weapons into the country, and encouraged the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the African Union to consider imposing sanctions against those responsible for the continuation of the conflict.
This announcement was made in response to South Sudan’s civil war that has raged since December 2013, during which both government and opposition forces have repeatedly violated ceasefire agreements and continue to acquire weapons that are used to perpetrate the violence. Well over 50,000 South Sudanese have been killed, nearly 5 million are severely food insecure, and 4 million have been displaced, both internally and as refugees that have fled to neighboring countries. In December 2016, the U.S. failed to secure the support of enough United Nations Security Council Members to pass an arms embargo resolution, and in February 2017, conditions deteriorated to the point of a famine declaration in parts of the country.
The Congressional Caucus on Sudan and South Sudan has long urged an arms embargo and targeted sanctions against government and opposition forces. The Caucus’s Co-Chairs issued the following statements:
Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17) “I commend the Administration for taking action to address the horrific violence being carried out against innocent civilians in South Sudan. The fact is, instead of protecting and providing for its own people, the government of South Sudan has continued to purchase attack helicopters, amphibious vehicles, and other arms, which it systematically and deliberately uses to murder its own citizens. The Administration’s decision to institute a policy of denial on the export of defense articles and defense services from the U.S. demonstrates America’s unwavering commitment to protecting innocent men, women, and children in South Sudan.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13) “I welcome the Administration’s decision to finally place restrictions on arms flowing into South Sudan. After years of conflict and repeated violations of the 2015 peace agreement and subsequent ceasefires, it is past time for this action. The United States and the international community must send a clear message to President Kiir and all officials responsible for the ongoing violence and resulting humanitarian crisis that we will not stand by as their citizens suffer. I urge the African Union and the United Nations Security Council to follow suit and take immediate action to stop further flows of weapons into South Sudan.”
Rep. Michael Capuano (MA-07) “This is a welcome development. I have long called for an arms embargo to be imposed on South Sudan, a nation created with high hopes after decades of brutal conflict. I hope it will be followed with an effective, sustained effort to end the fighting.”