South Sudan on Thursday insisted that imposing an arms embargo would not solve the country's ongoing crisis.
"We, as the government, are saying that an arms embargo cannot bring any solution, because the presence of peace and security in the country is not when there are no guns," Presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny told a Thursday press conference in the president's Juba office.
"If there is any country [living] in peace and security, it is not because it has no guns," he said.
On Monday, European Union foreign ministers ordered an arms embargo on the war-torn nation while calling on key international partners to follow suit.
The ministers urged the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional grouping that is sponsoring peace talks between South Sudan's warring rivals, to take steps to ensure that the country's wealth was being used for the benefit of the South Sudanese people rather than to stockpile weapons.
They also expressed their readiness to employ targeted sanctions against individuals found to be obstructing peace in South Sudan.
"It is surprising information that they can stop South Sudan from buying arms," Ateny said.
"For a country like South Sudan, it has a right to defend its territory from countries invading it," insisted the spokesman.
The fledgling country descended into chaos exactly one year ago following a power struggle within the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement.
Full-blown conflict erupted on December 15 of last year, which President Salva Kiir was quick to portray as a coup attempt by Riek Machar, his sacked vice-president, and the latter's supporters.
The conflict has since claimed tens of thousands of lives, displaced nearly two million people, and left about four million people at risk of food insecurity, according to humanitarian agencies.
In recent months, the warring camps have held on-again, off-again peace talks in Addis Ababa under the auspices of IGAD.
Ateny urged the international community to help his country resolve the crisis instead of merely imposing sanctions.
"It is not an arms embargo that can bring peace," said the spokesperson.
"There are so many guns in Europe. It has nuclear and chemical weapons, and there is no war because they have reached a state where people are very understanding and there is rule of law," he added.
"The issue is not about the presence of arms. Any means of fighting can kill," Ateny said. "Peace is something that should be in the hearts of people – even if you are holding guns."
AAGüncelleme Tarihi: 18 Aralık 2014, 15:10