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African countries need security assistance, not sanctions — Russian envoy to UN

During a session of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, members voted to approve a US-backed resolution to extend sanctions against South Sudan

UNITED NATIONS, May 31. /TASS/. African countries require assistance in overcoming the existing security problems, not sanctions that are directed against them, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said.

During a session of the UN Security Council on Tuesday, members voted to approve a US-backed resolution to extend sanctions against South Sudan. Russia abstained.

"Russia abstained on the draft resolution on renewal of South Sudan’s sanctions regime that was put forward by the United States. We believe the document does not provide sufficient sanctions relief," Nebenzya said.

"We regret that the American sponsors of the resolution remained so fixated on the sanctions paradigm that they were not able to accommodate the needs of this young state as far as revisiting the arms embargo or at least to convene a constructive discussion of the key provisions of the draft and concrete proposals for amendment of those provisions," he continued.

In the Russian envoy’s words, the US-backed draft ignored the consolidated position of African states, as well as the approaches of some other Security Council members, including Russia.

"At this point, South Sudan needs assistance in strengthening its emerging armed forces that may become an effective solution to the problem of inter-communal violence and a guarantor of a successful vote that is planned for December 2024," he said. "We believe it would be unfair to cite the alarming situation in the neighboring Sudan as a pretext for the lack of tangible progress on the South Sudanese sanctions file."

The Russian diplomat went on to say that the system of sanctions regimes on the African continent has become outdated in many respects, and therefore needs to be revisited and reformed.

"What raises particular concern is that in many African states, South Sudan included, Western states use sanctions regimes in order to exert pressure or even interfere in internal affairs," Nebenzya told the UN Security Council. "This is supplemented by illegal unilateral restrictive measures that run counter to the international law and exacerbate socio-economic situations in these countries. They also undermine efforts (i.a. by Security Council) in the area of peacebuilding."

The Russian delegation proposed to include in the resolution a paragraph to recognize the detrimental effect of such measures on post-conflict recovery, and also a call to keep from using such measures against countries that are under the UNSC sanctions. However, this "constructive language" was turned down by the United States, the Russian envoy said.