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Uganda's president opposes arms embargo on South Sudan

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni addresses an audience during the second day of the Giant Club Summit of African leaders and others on tackling poaching of elephants and rhinos at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki, Laikipia county, Kenya, April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni said he was opposed to a U.N. plan to impose an arms embargo on his neighbor South Sudan, saying it would weaken its army just as the country was trying to contain a resurgence of violence.

The statement from one of the region’s main powers, issued over the weekend, came after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Security Council to block arms sales to try and end more than two years of fighting in the world’s newest nation.

At least 272 people have died in the latest clashes between forces loyal to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his rival, Vice President Riek Machar.

Museveni told Ban he was against the embargo at an African Union summit in Rwanda’s capital Kigali on Saturday, officials said.

“When you impose an (arms) embargo on South Sudan you destroy the local force on which you need to build a strong integrated army,” a statement from his office read.

He did not say if Uganda would take any more concrete action against the plan for South Sudan, which declared independence from Sudan five years ago.

Uganda sent troops into South Sudan to back Kiir during latest conflict, which started in December 2013, and sent troops back again during this month’s resurgence in fighting, saying they would rescue Ugandan citizens there.

Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by George Obulutsa