The United Nations Security Council today condemned the spike in Somalia’s weapons trade and extended the mandate of a group of experts monitoring the flow of arms for an additional six months.
Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which allows for the use of force, the Council unanimously adopted a resolution stressing that States must comply with the arms embargo against Somalia.
It condemned “the significant increase in the flow of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia” and said it would “consider specific action to improve implementation of and compliance with measures” which were imposed in 1992, a year after President Muhammad Siad Barre’s regime was toppled. The country has had no functioning national government since then and has been wracked by factional fighting.
The Union of Islamic Courts, which controls the capital Mogadishu, and the Transitional Federal Parliament, which is based in Baidoa, are scheduled to hold peace talks in mid-December, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative for Somalia François Lonsény Fall told the Council earlier this month.
Describing the current situation in Somalia in its latest report to the Council, the monitoring group says, “The contest is overwhelmingly military in nature, with rampant arms flows to both sides. The arms flows are a premier part of a deliberate, ongoing and broader military build-up taking place on both sides.”
To stem this deadly trade, the group makes a number of recommendations for tightening the embargo, including a total border surveillance and interdiction effort involving a combination of sea, air and land military forces as well as a financial-assets freeze on all Somali-owned and -operated businesses located inside and outside Somalia that are connected to either side.
The group also calls for a “concerted and immediate international political and diplomatic initiative” aimed at underscoring “the very real possibility of an extended war and military conflict in the Horn of Africa” while working towards disengagement. It also urges “encouraging the involvement of all essential Somali actors in meaningful political dialogue leading towards a political solution to the Somali situation.”