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US considering sanctions on South Sudan rights offenders

WASHINGTON (AA) – The Obama administration is weighing sanctions on human rights offenders in South Sudan, the State Department said Wednesday, as the specter of famine threatens the country.
“We are considering sanctions options as appropriate to target those who are acting to impede the peaceful resolution of the conflict in South Sudan,” Deputy State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf said Wednesday.
Possible targets of sanctions include “those responsible for human rights violations or abuses or violations of international humanitarian law in South Sudan,” according to Harf.
At least 100,000 people have been killed in infighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and Reik Machar, his sacked vice president. Kiir accuses Machar of trying to overthrow his government.   Hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese people have been displaced in subsequent fighting, while large swathes of the population continue to face an increasingly dire humanitarian crisis, and potentially famine. The two sides are currently in the Ethiopian capital to discuss implementation of a June agreement to draw up a transitional government. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development extended to August 28 its deadline for forming a South Sudanese unity government. The UN Security Council said on Tuesday that it was ready to impose its own sanctions against anyone who undermines the ongoing peace efforts following a trip to the country.

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