News: UN Security Council lifts arms embargo on Somalia after 31 years

Somali government soldiers during an offensive against Al-Shabab (Photo: Reuters)

Addis Abeba – The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution 2714 lifting the arms embargo on Somalia which was first imposed on the country in 1992.

In January 1992, the UN Security Council Resolution 733 established an arms embargo on Somalia in reaction to the violence following the collapse of then Somalia President Mohamed Siad Barre and “deteriorating humanitarian situation” thereafter.

Following the decision, the 15-nation council called on the government of Somalia “to take all measures necessary to ensure that weapons, ammunition and military equipment imported for use by certain national forces, as well as by licensed private security companies, are not resold, transferred or made available for use to any individual or entity not in their service”. 

The resolution lifting the arms embargo spells out “for the avoidance of doubt, that there is no arms embargo on the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia,” Reuters reported. It also expresses concern about the number of safe ammunition storage facilities in Somalia, and encourages the construction, refurbishment and use of safe ammunition depots across Somalia, urging other countries to help.

Somalia’s representative to the UN, Ambassador Abukar Dahir Osman said the lifting of the arms embargo enables the country to confront security threats including those posed by Al-Shabaab. “It also allows us to bolster the capacity of the Somali security forces by accessing lethal arms and equipment to adequately safeguard our citizens and our nation.”

He added that the federal government of Somalia is committed to fully implement the transitioning of the security responsibility from ATMIS to the Somali National Army within the agreed timelines.

Member states of the security council, while commending the resolution, called on the government of Somalia to scale up commitments to implement the Somalia Transition Plan and the national security architecture.

In September last year, following a two-day official visit to Addis Abeba by Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Ethiopia joined Somalia calling upon the UN Security Council (UNSC) “to consider the request of the Federal Governments of Somalia for the lifting of the arms embargo imposed on the country for more than 30 years.”

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) also supported Somalia’s request to lift the arms embargo. AS

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