UN approves more peacekeepers for South Sudan as the young nation marks second anniversary of ‘bloody war’

New York/Juba, December 15, 2015 (SSNA) — The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has approved the deployment of more peacekeepers for South Sudan as the young nation marks its two-year old bloody armed conflict which has killed tens of thousands of people.

The 15-member UN’s body says it will soon send at least 1,100 peacekeepers to South Sudan and extended its mission in the violence-ravaged nation until the end of July of 2016.

The US-drafted resolution which has sanction language attached to it was passed on Tuesday with 13 votes in favor.

Russia and Venezuela abstained with Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Petr Iliichev complaining that he doubts if UN peacekeepers use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones will produce any good result. He also said he is concerns about the wording of the resolution, saying the document could be used by the UN to impose sanctions on South Sudan.

"We consider the wording formulated as an ultimatum regarding sanctions on South Sudan to be counterproductive," Iliichev told the Council.

Meanwhile the United States’ Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, questioned the legitimacy of Russia and Venezuela concerns and asked whether or not the nations that are against the resolution have peacekeepers in South Sudan.

"We wonder, actually, if the countries that abstain on this resolution citing UAV’s would do so if they had battalions of peacekeepers on the ground?” Power asked.

"We owe it to the troops and police on the ground to provide them with these life-saving tools.  They are asking for unmanned aerial vehicles … so they are less at risk," she said.

In September, Russia and Venezuela blocked the same UN sanctions against South Sudan, saying punitive measures would only escalate the situation. Russia also said it has signed a joint communique with South Sudan and Sudan and that the deal included opposition to sanctions.

Fighting erupted in December of 2013 between different units of presidential guards after many months of political differences between senior leaders of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the two-year old war, hundreds of thousands fled to the neighboring countries, and more than 2.3 million South Sudanese fled their homes.

The move comes as the international community raise concerns over lack of the implementation of the IGAD-Plus’s compromise peace agreement. The deal calls for a formation of a transitional government within 90 days after it was signed. Both South Sudanese president Salva kiir and rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar signed the pact in August. The two rival factions have been trading accusations of ceasefire violations dispite the IGAD-brokered deal.

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