The United States has proposed the UN Security Council impose sanctions against several South Sudanese ministers and officials, accusing them of obstructing peace efforts and blocking humanitarian assistance to civilians, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters.
Security Council diplomats are due to meet for negotiations on the text with a vote scheduled for Thursday. A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by Russia, China, France, Britain or the United States to pass.
The council sanctioned several senior South Sudanese officials on both sides of the conflict in 2015, but a US bid to impose an arms embargo in December 2016 failed.
In November, Russia said it would be counter-productive to impose further targeted sanctions or an arms embargo on South Sudan.
The proposed measures would freeze assets and ban travel for six officials, including Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk, former army chief Paul Malong, Minister of Information Michael Lueth and deputy chief of defence for logistics in the South Sudan Army Malek Reuben Riak Rengu.
It also targets Koang Rambang, governor of Bieh State, who the United States accused of leading military attacks and obstructing aid to civilians; and cabinet affairs minister Martin Elia Lomuro.
South Sudan, which split from its northern neighbour Sudan in 2011, has been gripped by a civil war sparked by political rivalry between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar.
Mawien Makol, South Sudan’s foreign affairs spokesman, told Reuters government was aware of the new sanctions proposal from Washington.
“We are still saying sanctions are not the solution…and also imposing sanctions on individuals is not the solution. The solution is to encourage the parties to bring peace in the country,” Makol said.
Talks in Ethiopia to revive South Sudan’s failed 2015 peace pact and end the civil war broke up last week without a deal.