Security Council calls for panel to monitor breaches of Somali arms embargo

16 December 2003

Aiming to stem the continued flow of weapons through Somalia, the United Nations Security Council today requested the establishment of an expert group to make recommendations on tightening the arms embargo against the country.

In a resolution that was adopted unanimously, the 15-member Council called for the monitoring group to investigate breaches of the embargo - especially transfers of ammunition, single use weapons and small arms - by land, air and sea. The group would be comprised of up to four experts with a six-month mandate.

The Council wants the Nairobi-based monitoring panel, after carrying out work in Somalia and neighbouring States, to make specific recommendations about how to strengthen the embargo.

The experts will also compile a draft list of "those who continue to violate the arms embargo inside and outside Somalia, and their active supporters, for possible future measures by the Council," according to the resolution.

Today's action comes just over a month after the Council sent a mission to Somalia to explore ways of giving full effect to the embargo, which was put in place in 1992 in a bid to restore peace to the volatile country.

A previous panel of experts, also set up at the request of the Council, found last year that the repeated embargo breaches are undermining attempts to restore peace and stability to the country, which has lacked a central government since 1991.

Somalia has been beset by anarchy, civil strife and famine since then, but a national reconciliation process since 2000 has led to the formation of a transitional government.