The United States Wednesday circulated a draft resolution to all 15 members of the United Nations Security Council calling for the imposition of an arms embargo on South Sudan, according to media reports. The move comes just days after South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir refused to sign a peace accord aimed at ending a nearly two-year civil war that has so far killed more than 10,000 people and displaced over 2 million.
In addition to the arms embargo, the draft also proposes further sanctions. However, details of who might be targeted have not yet been released.
According to the Associated Press (AP), which accessed a copy of the resolution, several “senior political leaders” might face sanctions if the government fails to sign a peace accord by the 15-day deadline of Sept. 1.
“It’s quite a technical resolution, so I think it will take quite a bit of work to get everyone on the same page,” Gerard van Bohemen, New Zealand’s permanent representative to the U.N., told AP.
The draft resolution was circulated shortly after Kiir told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that he would sign the peace deal after "a couple of more days of consultation."
On Monday, following peace talks in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, rebel leader Riek Machar signed the peace deal that called for “enduring peace and stability” in the oil-rich nation. Kiir, however, refused to do so.
“We are deeply disappointed that the Government of South Sudan under President Kiir yet again squandered the opportunity to bring peace to their people by refusing to sign the agreement,” U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice said, in a statement Tuesday.
“We have initiated consultations at the United Nations … to sanction those who undermine the peace process, if an agreement is not signed by the Government within 15 days and a ceasefire is not implemented promptly by all parties,” Rice added.
Conflict in the world’s youngest nation broke out in December 2013 when Kiir accused former vice president Riek Machar of plotting a coup to overthrow the government. The ensuing political infighting later intensified into a full-fledged civil war between the rebel army, led by Machar, and government forces. In addition to those killed and displaced, the war has put over 4 million people at risk of hunger and starvation, resulting in what the U.N. termed a “catastrophic food insecurity.”