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Gov’t turns to France as arms embargo threatens unified forces’ graduation

Juba, South Sudan,

July 12, 2021 – The government of South Sudan has turned to its French counterpart as it seeks an alternative to firearms acquisition for the graduation of unified forces amid an arms embargo extended by the United Nations Security Council in May.

Gov’t turns to France as arms embargo threatens unified forces’ graduation
James Deng Wal, the Executive Director in the Office of the President speaks to the media as French Special Envoy Jean Michel Dumond (L) looks on (photo credit: Presidential Press Unit)

South Sudan celebrated its 10th Independence Anniversary last week and President Salva Kiir stated in his address that the arms embargo was one of the major challenges facing the graduation of 53,000 trained forces.

In a statement published on the official Facebook page of the President, a delegation led by French Special Envoy Jean Michel Dumond was briefed by the current state of the peace process, especially chapter two of the agreement.

Speaking after the meeting, James Deng Wal, the Executive Director in the Office of the President said Kiir urged the French delegation to support South Sudan achieve success in implementing the peace deal.

“His Excellency briefed the delegation about the progress of peace being made and the implementation process, the reconstitution of both executive branch and the parliament and the process of the graduation of unified forces in the Republic of South Sudan,” he said.

“His Excellency also urged the French delegation and the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of South Sudan. His Excellency urged the people of France to stand with the people of South Sudan on the issue of sanctions in order for the forces to be graduated so we need to have guns because we want the unified forces to be fully armed and protect the people of South Sudan,” he added.

However, speaking after Mr. Wal, the French Special Envoy Jean Michel Dumond said an arms embargo is not a prerequisite to the implementation of the security arrangements.

“In that regard, we discussed security questions and the necessity of the unification of the command structure before having the unification of forces and we explained again to the President that from France’s perspective the arms embargo is not a prerequisite at all to the deployment of the necessary unified forces,” he said.

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