Israel denies selling “lethal weapons” to South Sudan’s government

Juba, January 14, 2016 (SSNA) — The Israeli government has denied reports that it has been selling lethal weapons to South Sudanese government even after the civil war broke out.

The revelation came months after a team of United Nations (UN) experts accused Israel of supplying "deadly weapons" to South Sudan’s government.

Reports suggest that a UN team of experts travelled to Israel last year to meet Israeli officials after United Nations panel of experts released a report, accusing Jerusalem of supplying Juba with lethal arms even after the two-year old bloody civil war erupted.

However, officials at Israeli Defense and Foreign Ministries denies the charges and told a UN delegation that Israel has stopped supplying weapons to South Sudan soon after the war broke out, adding that it unsuccessfully tried to mediate South Sudan’s warring factions.

“We had good relations with both sides. We tried to calm the situation and had contacts with both sides. The Foreign Ministry even sent mediators to Juba…and we passed messages via Ethiopia and other channels. But without success,” an Israeli official was reported as saying.

Israeli is believed to be continuing supplying South Sudan’s government with what it described as “non-lethal items.”

In March last year, UN Security Council approved sanctions on South Sudan. The measure, which called for the establishment of a panel of experts and committee to oversee the sanctions, banned weapons sales to South Sudanese government.

Fighting broke out in Juba on the 15th of December 2013 between different units of presidential guards just one day after senior members of the ruling Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) party walked out of the National Liberation Council (NLC) meeting; calling the process “undemocratic.”

The two-year old war has forced at least 2.3 million South Sudanese to flee their homes, hundreds of thousands fled to the neighboring countries, and tens of thousands of people have been killed.

The South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) was told by a high-ranking South Sudan’s government official that the meeting between a UN panel of experts and Israeli government officals took place in November of 2015.

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