The United States Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, proposed to the Security Council on 25 April that sanctions should be implemented on South Sudan for its government's alleged ongoing human rights abuses. The measure, she insisted, would be an effort to persuade South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and the opposition party to end the civil war that has plagued the country for years. The consequent humanitarian crisis has resulted in famine and displacement, with Haley declaring that at least half of the 10 million South Sudanese residents would face "life-threatening hunger" if action was not soon taken.
Haley continued to openly blame President Kiir for the crisis in the country, stating that it was man-made and caused by the ongoing conflict occurring at Kiir's bidding, including his neglecting to honor a ceasefire agreement and conducting an alleged campaign of violence against the South Sudanese population.
Indeed, government-sponsored repression has been well-documented in the country, specifically regarding freedom of speech and censorship abuses against both foreign and South Sudanese journalists. In August 2015, President Kiir infamously threatened those who would publicly oppose his government: "The freedom of press does not mean that you work against your country. And if anybody among [the opposition] does not know that this country has killed people, we will demonstrate it one day on them."
However, Haley's proposal on 25 April was vetoed by both Russia's and China's representatives due to their disagreeing with sanctions being used to combat the crisis. Petr Iliichev, Russia's Deputy Ambassador to the UN, stated that the way to achieve peace was to "disarm civilians as well as demobilize and reintegrate combatants," instead of imposing an arms embargo on the government as the US had proposed. China's Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Wu Haitao, declared that a political settlement was the only path to peace for the country, and that the UN should work with regional intergovernmental groups, such as the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, to promote peace talks in South Sudan.
Haley lamented the lack of action by the UN Security Council, stating it actively helped the South Sudanese government, but also agreed that cooperation with regional intergovernmental groups was crucial to success.