UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council is discussing imposing sanctions on two additional South Sudanese for continuing to fuel conflict in the world's newest nation, diplomats said Friday.
The council called for an immediate end to fighting in a statement after a closed-door meeting and again threatened sanctions if the government and opposition don't fully implement the peace agreement they recently signed.
Fighting broke out in oil-rich South Sudan in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, accused his ex-vice president Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer, of trying to oust him. That sparked ethnic attacks and fighting that was supposed to end with Kiir's reluctant signing of the agreement on Aug. 26. Machar signed on Aug. 17.
The Security Council welcomed the signings and commitments to halt military operations by the two rivals but expressed "deep concern" at recent reports of fighting.
Members stressed in a statement following a video briefing by the U.N. envoy for South Sudan, Ellen Margrethe Loj, that they are ready to impose an arms embargo and targeted sanctions "to ensure full implementation" of the peace deal.
The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the council's discussions were private, said U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power raised the possibility of imposing and arms embargo and travel ban on one Kiir supporter and one Machar supporter.
The council imposed sanctions on six generals — three from each side — on July 1 for continuing the conflict which has killed thousands, created a humanitarian crisis and displaced over two million people.
The United States, which was an early and vocal supporter of South Sudan's independence from neighboring Sudan, has tried to keep up pressure on the feuding parties first to sign the peace agreement and now to implement it.