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China indicates opposition to any sanctions in South Sudan

February 28, 2015

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — China indicated Friday that it opposes a U.S.-drafted resolution that would open a path for U.N. sanctions against those blocking peace and promoting violence in South Sudan.

China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi told a news conference that he saw no “logic” behind the proposed resolution at a time when the South Sudan government led by President Salva Kiir and opposition led by rebel leader Riek Machar are negotiating a peace agreement.

“They are talking across the negotiating table,” he said. “To apply a punitive measure now would send out what kind of message — right message or wrong message?”

He said the U.N. Security Council and the international community should be promoting the negotiations and an end to more than a year of fighting that has killed tens of thousands and displaced two million people.

Fighting broke out in the world’s newest nation in December 2013 after Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, accused Machar, an ethnic Nuer and his former vice president, of trying to oust him in a coup. Their political dispute sparked ethnic attacks and fighting between government troops and rebels, despite several cease-fires.

Liu said China has learned that the two sides have reached agreement on about 90 percent of the issues.

The remaining 10 percent are difficult issues including power sharing and the political structure of a new unity government, he said.

“We hope that they would reach agreement at an early date and actually implement the agreement,” Liu said.

The draft resolution circulated by the U.S. to the 15 council members Tuesday wouldn’t impose sanctions but would set up the mechanism for doing so.

It doesn’t name any possible targets of a financial freeze and travel ban, but clearly indicates Kiir and Machar when it says people affected could include “leaders of any entity.”

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