Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued this statement following the Treasury Department’s decision to sanction individuals on both sides of the conflict in South Sudan.
“Violence is raging in South Sudan and with millions of lives at risk, I welcome today’s announcement that the Obama Administration has designated two individuals for sanctions due to their roles in undermining peace and security in the world’s newest nation.
“The sanctions targeting a rebel-aligned commander who led the April massacres in Bentiu and the head of the Presidential Guard who orchestrated attacks in the early days of the crisis are an important first step in holding those who perpetrate atrocities to account.
“I commend President Obama on imposing sanctions against these two rival leaders, and reiterate my call for a strengthened U.N. peacekeeping mandate, the suspension of security assistance and other measures available to the Administration to hold President Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar accountable in the ongoing peace negotiations.
“As the government of South Sudan launches a new offensive against rebel-held areas and opposition forces continue their own military campaigns, the lives of millions of South Sudanese are in danger. The loss of life is already unbearably high, there is genuine concern that a famine is likely, and millions are without access to humanitarian aid. More must be done to support this emerging nation.”