The permanent delegation of South Sudan praised their Egyptian counterparts for abstaining from voting on the United National Security Council (UNSC) decision to deploy more “regional protection forces” in South Sudan on Friday.
The resolution passed with 11 votes in favour of the intervention and four abstentions. South Sudan promptly rejected the decision and refused to cooperate. The resolution will impose an arms embargo in case the government does not cooperate.
Egypt abstained from voting after the UNSC decided to deploy 4,000 soldiers in Juba, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Egypt was among four countries which refrained from voting, including Russia, China, and Venezuela.
The Egyptian delegation pointed out that the UNSC is ignoring the South Sudanese government’s stance regarding the intervention, stressing that the approval of the government should be mandatory and also a legal requirement.
The delegation added that there should be direct coordination with the South Sudanese government, as the main target of the council’s efforts is to protect civilians and minimise their suffering.
The Egyptian delegation praised the UNSC’s efforts to protect civilians in South Sudan, however, it said that it tried to reach solutions and drafts that would be agreed upon by all the members, but there is an apparent insistence that arrangements be made without involving the South Sudanese government.
South Sudan has been experiencing severe turmoil after a civil war erupted in 2013. The United Nations peacekeeping forces have been deployed in Juba and other strategic places in South Sudan, but they are consistently harassed and attacked.
Clashes erupted between soldiers allied to current president Salva Kiir and the opposition who support the vice-president, Riek Machar. Early in July, the clashes escalated and reached residential areas, which led to civilians seeking refuge in churches. This resulted in the death of about 300, including soldiers and civilians.