The United States of America has proposed that the United Nations Security Council authorised a 4,000-strong force to ensure peace in South Sudan and threatend to impose arms embargo if the transitional government does not cooperate.
This is contained in a draft resolution in Washington on Monday to the 15-member council.
The draft resolution noted that the council should approve a regional protection force “to use all necessary means, including undertaking robust and active steps and engaging in direct operations where necessary.
It said this was mainly to secure Juba and protect the airport and other key facilities.
It said the protection force would be part of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, known as UNMISS, which had been on ground since the country gained independence from Sudan in 2011.
The draft resolution said the protection force chief would report to the UNMISS commander.
A source at the UN mission said on condition of anonymity that the council would vote on whether to impose an arms embargo or not.
The source said the voting would come into being if UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reports within a month of adoption of the draft resolution that South Sudan’s transitional government was obstructing deployment of the protection force.
The source also added that the draft text would extend the mandate for UNMISS until Dec. 15.
He said the Security Council would have to adopt the draft by Friday, when the current UNMISS mandate expires.
Heavy fighting involving tanks and helicopters erupted in Juba for several days last month between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing former Vice President Riek Machar, raising fears of a return to full-scale civil war in the world’s newest nation.
Hundreds of people were killed and the UN accused the government soldiers and security forces of executing civilians and gang-raped women and girls during and after the outbreak of fighting.
The Security Council has threatened for some 18 months to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan.