Action on the Resolution on Arms Embargo and targeted Sanctions on South Sudan
Explanation of vote delivered by Gerard van Bohemen, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, 23 December 2016.
For many months now New Zealand has argued that an arms embargo on South Sudan is needed as part of the international response to the continuing conflict. It is also a measure strongly and repeatedly called for by the Secretary-General and the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations for over a year. We are very disappointed that the Council has failed to respond to these requests.
We recognise that an arms embargo will not solve the conflict, but it will go a long way towards addressing the overabundance of weapons which are being used against civilians, which undoubtedly fuels the conflict further.
We also recognise the concern expressed by some that an arms embargo and targeted sanctions would upset any political process, however in our view, such measures would only help create the conditions for peace on the ground, and in turn, support the political process. Right now, we are seeing a lot more fighting and killing than we are talking and we have been warned by the United Nations about the possibility of much graver developments. Ignoring those warnings and preserving space for a currently non-existent dialogue seems to us not to make a lot of sense.
We are concerned that what we are seeing today is another example of a country, where a Council-mandated Mission operating under very difficult conditions, doing just enough to see the Council off, do the minimum to avoid the imposition of measures the Council itself had forecast without demonstrating any meaningful commitment to changing the dangerous course on which it has embarked.
As we leave the Security Council, we urge Council members not to allow differences over this resolution to distract from or prevent unified and effective leadership on the critical issues facing the people of South Sudan and the Mission on the ground.