Monday, December 5, 2016
On South Sudan, ICP Asks UN About Kiir's Planned Attacks In Equatoria, Why US Only Aims Sanctions at Machar
By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up to Exclusives
UNITED NATIONS, November 30 -- When the UN Security Council met about South Sudan on November 17, outgoing US Ambassador Samantha Power lavished praise on Ban Ki-moon's Special Representative to the country, Ellen Loj, not linking her to the UN's failures in Juba in July and Malakal before that.
This stands in contrast to Ban's firing or scapegoating for the July failure of Kenyan's force commander Ondieki, on the job for only three weeks at the time. Was Loj as blameless as Samantha Power and Ban made her out to be, as each speechifies about “accountability”?
On November 30, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here:
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about South Sudan. In the session in Geneva today, the US ambassador there, Mr. Ambassador Harper, said that the US has information that the government intends to… to essentially carry out an attack in Equatoria in the coming weeks. I wanted to ask two things.
One, what the UN… UNMISS [United Nations Mission in South Sudan], if… I'm assuming that if the US has this information that UNMISS would as well, what steps it intends to take to protect civilians. And also, I guess, to ask for your comment, the US mission here in New York is seeking sanctions through the Security Council only on Riek Machar and not on Salva Kiir.
Given that these allegations are about the Salva Kiir Government, does the Secretary-General, who has been willing to talk about arms embargo, believe that the sanctions should be applied to… as well as the party that's actually planning an attack according to testimony today?
Deputy Spokesman: Well, to take your second question first, obviously, it's, the sanctions and how they're devised is up to the members of the Council, and we respect their ability to do that. At the same time, of course, the Secretary-General has made clear the response, that the responsibility for the violence in South Sudan is a responsibility by the leaders of both parties. It's, it's not restricted to one side or the other. And so any solution will involve making sure that both parties abide by this, both the SPLA [Sudan People's Liberation Army] and the SPLA in Opposition.
Regarding possible violence, of course, we take preparatory steps whenever we are aware of any reports of threats and the mission is doing all it can in terms of its posture on the ground and its patrolling to protect civilians. But I wouldn't want to speculate on what might happen in the future. But, yes, we try to take steps to make sure that we'll be ready.
After a closed door Security Council meeting later on November 29, Inner City Press was told that a “new” letter from the Kiir government on the RSF had been discussed. But neither the Council presidency, nor the US as penholder, represented by Isobel Coleman and not Samantha Power, provided any information.
The US has proposed to sanction Riek Machar -- but not Salva Kiir. Inner City Press asked UN Prevention of Genocide Adviser Adama Dieng about this choice, video here (he answered on other issues).