The United Nations Security Council today called for enhanced monitoring of the arms embargo in Somalia, declaring that strict enforcement would improve security in a country that has been torn by factional fighting and has had no functioning central government since 1991.In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member body extended for another year the Monitoring Group overseeing the embargo that was first put in place 16 years ago, declared that the situation constituted a threat to international peace and security in the region, and demanded that all States, particularly in the region, refrain from any violation and take all steps to hold violators accountable. It called on the Group “to continue to investigate, in coordination with relevant international agencies, all activities, including in the financial, maritime and other sectors, which generate revenues used to commit arms embargo violations,” as well as “any means of transport, routes, seaports, airports and other facilities” used in connection with such violations.The Group should also identify areas where the capacities of States in the region can be strengthened to facilitate implementation of the embargo.The resolution, adopted as in the past under Chapter VII of the UN Charter that allows for the use of force, stressed “the importance of enhancing the monitoring of the arms embargo in Somalia through persistent and vigilant investigation into the violations, bearing in mind that strict enforcement of the arms embargo will improve the overall security situation in Somalia.” Earlier this week Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council that strengthening the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) through financing, logistical support, necessary training, equipment and other reinforcements facilitated by the UN and Member States was currently “the realistic option” for trying to bring a measure of stability to the war-torn country.While the most appropriate response was a Multinational Force (MNF), rather than a typical peacekeeping operation, with full military capabilities to support the cessation of armed confrontation, he said no Member State had offered to play the lead nation role and the response had not been encouraging from the 50 countries and three international organizations he had approached for contributions. If the enhanced AMISOM arrangement proved successful, it would pave the way for deploying UN peacekeepers, he added, pointing out that the Council could consider setting up a Maritime Task Force or adding a quick reaction component to the current anti-piracy efforts to launch operations into Somalia in support of UN humanitarian activities and AMISOM.In a resolution adopted after Mr. Ban’s presentation, the Council strengthened efforts to fight piracy off the Somali coast, which has seen the hijacking for ransom of UN food ships and dozens of other vessels, including possible action against pirate bases on land. 19 December 2008The United Nations Security Council today called for enhanced monitoring of the arms embargo in Somalia, declaring that strict enforcement would improve security in a country that has been torn by factional fighting and has had no functioning central government since 1991.

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