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Tuesday, Mar 03rd, 2015

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UN Security Council Approves Sanctions on South Sudan

New York, March 3, 2015 (SSNA) -- The United Nations Security Council has passed US-proposed sanctions against South Sudan on Tuesday, paving the way for the international body to impose punitive measures against the young nation if the ongoing peace talks in Ethiopia failed.

The UNSC's action comes as the future of peace negotiations between South Sudan's warring factions look uncertain.

US’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, hails the move and warns that anyone who aggravates or who stands in the way of peace process will pay a price.

"Those who frustrate peace must begin to pay the price,” Power said.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s Ambassador to the UN, Francis Deng, cautions that sanctions will only cause more suffering, asserting that President Salva Kiir and the people of South Sudan only need encouragement and support.

“What the president and the government of South Sudan need is encouragement and support, not condemnation,” Deng warned.

Deng also said he hopes the Council will not implement the measures.

Last week, the United States circulated a draft resolution to the UN Security Council. The proposal which called for the establishment of a panel of experts and committee to oversee the sanctions was questioned by China.

The US also warned that the newly-passed resolution is a first step and that tougher sanctions will follow.

Heavy Fighting Erupts in Unity State

Juba/Addis Ababa, February 10, 2015 (SSNA) -- Heavy fighting between government and rebel forces broke out in the capital of South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity State, on Tuesday with both sides using heavy artilleries, the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) has learned.

Fighting has been raging since early Tuesday with both sides accusing each other of attack.

South Sudanese government said rebel forces have attacked their positions in and around Bentiu and accuse the anti-government fighters of violating the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CHA) which was signed in January last year in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

“The rebels are shelling our positions in Bentiu. This is a violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement, and we will act in self-defence,” South Sudan’s Defence Minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, was quoted by AFP as saying.

Meanwhile, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in Opposition (SPLA-IO) dismiss Juuk’s claims, saying Juba government is relying on lies and that the accusations Minister Juuk labeled against the opposition forces are ‘pure lies’.

“What really happened is that Juba soldiers with their foreign allies first attacked our outposts; they came and attacked us thinking they will flush us out of our positions,” Captain Peter Keer Mayoi who said he participated in the fight told the South Sudan News Agency by  satellite phone in Unity State.

“These are pure lies, they should blame themselves not us because we were just responding to their attacks...now Kuol Manyang Juuk is lying because we defeated his soldiers back to where they came from,” he asserted.

Fighting erupted in December of 2013 between different units of presidential guards after months of political chaos among senior leaders of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party.

President Kiir accuses his main-rival, Dr. Machar, of planning a coup. Machar denies the allegation saying Kiir premeditated the alleged coup in an attempt to try to get rid of his rivals.

South Sudan Rebels Designate Equatoria Region “Military Zone,” Urge Citizens to Leave

Addis Ababa, February 9, 2015 (SSNA) -- A senior official of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in Opposition (SPLM-IO) has announced that the Equatoria Region has been labeled as a military zone, effective February 10, 2015.

The official also urges civil population to leave all government-controlled cities.

In a press statement extended to the South Sudan News agency (SSNA), the leadership of South Sudan’s rebels said that the government of South Sudan has repeatedly violated the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CHA) which was signed on January 23rd, 2013.

“From the 10th February, 2015 Equatoria region is effectively declared a military zone until the current regime is changed,” Oyet Nathaniel Pierino, the SPLM-IO Chairman of National Committee for Political Mobilization said in the statement.

The document which bears the signature of Pierino, has harshly accused Juba of undermining peace talks by refusing to withdraw foreign forces and urges anyone who lives in any government-controlled city to leave.

“The government of South Sudan and its allies has been violating this agreement by refusing to withdraw foreign forces that continued to undermine the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the new nation,” he added.

Prierino further reveals that IGAD which is mediating the peace between the two warring factions has members who back Kiir’s regime and that achieving peace is near to impossible. Even though Pierino did not name any country by name, it is in record that Uganda, a member of IGAD is supporting Kiir.

“Unfortunately for the peace talks in Addis Ababa, those who mediate the talks-the IGAD has members who are complicit in the state failure in South Sudan and human right violations in the armed conflict,” Pierino recalls.

The SPLM-IO leader expresses disappointment over IGAD’s decision to put more focus on power sharing and reunification of the SPLM, saying that demand for political and governance reforms and justice for the victims of Kiir’s genocide remains one of the critical points in the ongoing peace negotiations.

The SPLM-IO senior official also reminds the international community that Kiir’s government is still beheading people in their houses in and around Juba, condemns what he calls government policy of targeting and killing the members of Nuer, equatorians, pertit, balanda, shilluk, murle, and other members of minority communities, and urge United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to investigate and bring culprits to justice.

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