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Kenya breaks silence on arms embargo vote abstention

Juba, South Sudan, June 03, 2021 – The Kenyan government has broken silence over the decision to abstain from voting for the extension of the arms embargo against South Sudan at the United Nations Security Council.

Kenya breaks silence on arms embargo vote abstention
President of Kenya and the East African Community Chairperson, Uhuru Kenyatta makes a speech during the meeting of the United for Wildlife Taskforces at St James Palace on January 21, 2020 in London, England. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Kenya was one of the only two countries that sat back as nations adopted a resolution to renew a ban on the importation of firearms in South Sudan. Another country that abstained from voting was India.

In a statement shared with Nyamilepedia, Kenya says the decision to abstain was part of a commitment to support the South Sudan peace process.

“Kenya’s commitment to South Sudan peace process needs no explanation. Kenya hosted and facilitated the protracted negotiations culminating in the historic 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that eventually led to the birth of South Sudan as a country in 2011,” part of the letter reads.

The Kenyan government says having walked this journey, it understands the strides that South Sudan has achieved towards peace and stability acknowledging that much ground remains to be covered. This, the Uhuru administration says, requires continued support from both regional and international communities.

The East African country further deplored that the use of sanctions and arms embargo has not been a very effective measure to compel peace parties to implement the agreement.

“It is Kenya’s belief that the arms embargo and targeted sanctions have not been effective tools in support of the South Sudan peace process. Indeed, they have in certain cases been counterproductive.

“During the negotiations for the renewal of the South Sudan sanctions resolution, we reiterated the position of the African Union, insisting that any edits of the draft should be aimed at their eventual lifting,” the statement continues.

Kenya says while the new resolution was an improvement to the preceding resolution, more flexibility could have been extended to make the eventual lifting of the sanctions realistic and certain.

“For this reason, Kenya has chosen to vote to abstain to demonstrate our keen interest to see the arms embargo and targeted measures lifted as called for by the AU and IGAD,” the statement explains.


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