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IGAD, AU told to put financial pressure on S. Sudan

John Prendergast, a co-founder of The Sentry - The Enough Project | File Photo

The research group, Enough Project – has called on the IGAD, AU and the UN to create consequences for the spoilers of the peace process in South Sudan.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council voted to renew for 45 days the sanctions it imposed in 2015 on those blocking peace in South Sudan, with consideration of further measures – including arms embargo, if fighting continues in the country.

In a statement, the Enough Project said it is important to note that the international community still lacks the leverage required to persuade the South Sudanese factions to accept peace in their country.

The US-based group argues that postponing or delaying the processes of holding high-level politicians accountable only helps to strengthen hardline positions among them.

“As far as IGAD and the AU are concerned, South Sudan is an accountability-free war zone.  Without leverage, the next round of peace talks have no chance of succeeding,” said John Prendergast, the Founding Director at the Enough Project.

“Only biting financial and legal pressure focused on the government and rebel leaders who have torn the world’s newest country apart and their commercial collaborators could possibly alter current calculations that favor war, instability and chaos over peace, democracy, and the rule of law.”

The UN Security Council resolution states that if the parties failed to cease hostilities by the end of June, the council would consider freezing the assets and banning travel for six officials.

These include Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk, former army chief Paul Malong, Minister of Information Michael Lueth, and deputy chief of defense for logistics Malek Reuben Riak Rengu.

The research group said the collapse of the latest round of peace talks to end the conflict last week, exposes the profound lack of leverage that the IGAD sub-region and the international community presently have on the warring parties and the fatal shortcomings of the current mediation process.

It points out that the IGAD proposal to bridge the differences failed to appeal to the warring parties and focused on short-term issues rather than the institutional reforms that the country needs.

The Enough Project stated that the parties feel no pressure to sign a deal.

This, according to the research group, is partly because threats by IGAD, the AU, and other international actors to enact consequences on the spoilers in this conflict have not been followed through.

It said the delays and postponements in holding the warring parties accountable prolongs the suffering of the South Sudanese.