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Kerry backs arms embargo on South Sudan

07 February 2015, 08:50

Washington - US Secretary of State John Kerry is pressing for a UN vote creating an arms embargo on South Sudan in an effort to end the civil war there, a US official said on Thursday.

An embargo and sanctions against South Sudan fighters are regularly discussed at the UN, and in Washington and Europe.

But there has been little real action, with the White House seen as dragging its feet after making a strong push for the independence of the world's youngest nation in 2011.

"I would characterise Kerry's view as supporting the state department's view in support of a UN-led embargo," a US administration official told AFP on Thursday.

Foreign Policy magazine reported last week that National Security Advisor Susan Rice was against an arms embargo on South Sudan, putting her at odds with Kerry and UN envoy Samantha Power.

Also Read: S.Sudan fighters carried out a 'month of rape': UN

Rice does not see a benefit to an embargo that would only hit the elected regime of President Salva Kiir and not the rebellion of his former vice president Riek Machar, according to Foreign Policy.

The US official refused to discuss any possible disagreement between the White House and the state department on the issue.

In the months that followed the start of the conflict in December 2013, US President Barack Obama repeatedly condemned, pressured and threatened sanctions. He also sent Kerry on a peace mission to Juba.

But in recent weeks, rights groups and other experts have accused Washington of standing idly by over a civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people.

Kiir and Machar signed yet another ceasefire agreement late on Sunday following four days of talks in Ethiopia, but they did not address the core issues behind the 13 months of fighting.

The US has fought for the cause of South Sudan for the past three decades, from backing John Garang's 1983 to 2005 rebellion to the July 2011 independence ceremony attended by Rice in Juba.



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