News / Africa

UN Security Council Sets Stage for Lifting Somalia Arms Embargo

FILE - The United Nations Security Council FILE - The United Nations Security Council
x
FILE - The United Nations Security Council
FILE - The United Nations Security Council
Reuters
The U.N. Security Council is considering lifting an arms embargo on Somalia's government for one year so it can beef up its army to combat Islamist fighters, according to a draft resolution that is due to be voted on by the divided council on Wednesday.

The Somalia government has asked for the arms embargo to be lifted and the United States has been pushing the council to agree, but Britain and France have been wary of removing the ban in a country already awash with weapons, diplomats say.

The draft resolution, drawn up by Britain and obtained by Reuters, appears to propose a compromise: lifting the arms embargo for one year but keeping restrictions in place on heavy weapons such as surface to air missiles, howitzers and cannons.

The draft resolution says the arms embargo shall not apply to the deliveries of other "weapons or military equipment or the provision of advice, assistance or training, intended solely for the development of the security forces of the federal government of Somalia and to provide security for the Somali people."

It says that these weapons and equipment "may not be resold to, transferred to, or made available for use by, any individual or entity not in the service of the security forces of the federal government of Somalia."

The 15-member council imposed the arms embargo in 1992 to cut the flow of arms to feuding warlords, who a year earlier ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and plunged Somalia into civil war. Somalia held its first national vote since 1991 last year to elect a president and prime minister.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this month suggested the Security Council consider lifting the arms embargo to help rebuild Somalia's forces and consolidate military gains against al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants.

But some council members are concerned about the security risks involved with removing the arms embargo and one council diplomats said the proposed move "sends shivers down the spine."

Militant Infiltration

The Security Council's Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, an independent panel that reports on compliance with U.N. sanctions, have warned that the Islamist militants in Somalia are receiving weapons from distribution networks linked to Yemen and Iran, diplomats have told Reuters.

A U.N. diplomat also said the U.N. monitors had reported that some al-Shabab militants had infiltrated units of the Somali security forces.

The council is scheduled to vote on the draft resolution on Wednesday before the mandate of the 17,600-strong AU peacekeeping force, known as AMISOM, expires on Thursday. The resolution would renew AU peacekeeping force for one year and reconfigure the U.N. mission in the Horn of Africa country.

AU troops from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya and Ethiopia are battling al Shabaab militants on several fronts in Somalia and have forced them to abandon significant territory in southern and central areas of the country.

The militants, who affiliated themselves with al-Qaida in February last year, launched their campaign against the government in early 2007, seeking to impose sharia, or strict Islamic law, on the entire country.

The Somali government believes lifting the embargo will help it strengthen its poorly-equipped, ill-disciplined military - more a group of rival militias than a cohesive fighting force loyal to a single president.

The draft resolution requires that the Somalia government or the country delivering assistance notify the Security Council "at least five days in advance of any deliveries of weapons and military equipment ... providing details of such deliveries and assistance and the specific place of delivery in Somalia."

It also asks the government to report regularly on the structure of the security forces and the infrastructure and procedures in place to ensure safe storage, maintenance and distribution of military equipment.

The removal of the arms embargo would be reviewed in one year, according to the draft resolution.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid