The United States warned Thursday of possible new sanctions on South
Sudanese leaders as President Salva Kiir snubbed talks in New York on
the nine-month conflict wracking his country.
Instead, Kiir sent his foreign minister to join the discussion on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
“There was a lot of disappointment expressed in the meeting that
Salva Kiir, who is New York, did not attend the meeting,” a senior State
Department official told reporters.
“Several of the attendees… made a point of noting that Salva Kiir was not there,” the official added, asking not to be named.
Washington has already imposed sanctions on several South Sudanese
from both the government and the rebels, and more could be on the way.
“All of the parties who are involved in the negotiations have come to
the conclusion that if the warring parties do not take this seriously,
then we have to levy more sanctions on them,” the official said.
The official stressed that the east Africa regional bloc, known as
IGAD, which has been mediating sputtering peace talks, shared the view
that more sanctions may be necessary.
In August, Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signed a new ceasefire
deal — the fourth since fighting began nine months ago — aiming to
forge a unity government by October 9.
“The important point here is that the neighbors and the IGAD
negotiators also have to be an active participant in the sanctions
regime,” the State Department official said.