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Explanation of Vote by Amb. Zhang Jun, Chinese permanent representative to UN, on the UN Security Council Draft Resolution on Renewing the Sanctions on South Sudan

Madam President,

The Security Council sanctions regime on South Sudan is the most controversial of all Security Council sanctions regimes. This is because South Sudan is the youngest member of the United Nations. It has gone through a decade of war. It has a poor and weak foundation. And it needs the constructive support, not pressure by sanctions from the international community. This is because the African Union and IGAD have always taken a clear stance against Security Council sanctions on South Sudan and against the Council’s punishment of this youngest brother of Africa. This is also because the issue of South Sudan is ultimately to be addressed through political means. In many cases, pressure by sanctions is not only ineffective, but also restricts the ability of the Government of South Sudan to build security capacity in protecting civilians. This past January, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union issued a communique again calling on the international community to lift the arms embargo and other sanctions on South Sudan in order to build security capacity necessary to maintain national security and stability in South Sudan. 

It is precisely for the above reasons, that China has been cautious about Security Council sanctions on South Sudan, and it has for many times abstained from voting on resolutions renewing sanctions. Last year, the Security Council established benchmarks for adjusting sanctions on South Sudan. According to the Secretary-General’s report, South Sudan has made progress in the implementation of benchmarks, including steady progress in the development and formulation of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, some positive developments in the unification process of the Necessary Unified Forces, and modest progress in the implementation of the Joint Action Plan for the Armed Forces on addressing conflict-related sexual violence. In light of the Secretary-General’s report, and at the same time taking into account the obsession of some Council members on sanctions, China and other Security Council members believe that the Security Council should adopt measures to gradually ease the sanctions regime on South Sudan. 

On this basis, China has put forward constructive amendments, including exempting training and non-lethal equipment from sanctions, changing application of exemption requests to reporting, adjusting targeted sanctions, and so on. Other members of the Council have also proposed similar amendments. These measures, if adopted, will not exacerbate the conflicts in South Sudan, but will help respond positively to the concerns of the African Union, enhance South Sudan’s capacity building in security, and encourage the Government of South Sudan to take more substantive steps towards implementing the benchmarks for the adjustment of sanctions. 

The penholder’s responsibility is to help the Council come up with a text that has the maximum consensus, rather than stubbornly insisting on the penholder’s own views in the text. Regrettably, the penholder did not fulfill this responsibility. It did not carefully listen to and adopt the reasonable opinions, did not show the fairness and inclusiveness a penholder should have, and failed to fully take into account the concerns of all parties when adjusting the text. A number of members, including all African members of the Council, broke their silence procedure set by the United States for the draft resolution. However, the US still forced to vote on a text that does not enjoy consensus. Therefore, China had no choice but abstained from voting. 

Thank you, Madam President.

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