8099th Security Council Meeting: The Situation in Somalia

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SIX OFFICIAL 14-Nov-2017 01:07:13
Extending arms embargoes on Somalia, Eritrea, Security Council Adopts Resolution 2385 (2017) by 11 votes in favour, 4 abstentions at 8099th meeting.
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The Security Council today extended the modified arms embargo on Somalia and the authorization for maritime interdiction of illicit arms imports and charcoal exports until 15 November 2018, as well as the renewal of the arms ban on Eritrea for that same period.

Adopting resolution 2385 (2017) by a vote of 11 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (Bolivia, China, Egypt, Russian Federation), the Council also extended the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group until 15 December 2018.

Extending the humanitarian exemptions to the sanctions and reiterating that the arms embargo on Somalia did not apply to deliveries of military goods for the federal security forces, the resolution restated the need to keep such weapons out of the hands of other parties through application of strict guidelines by the Government and its partners. It again urged increased cooperation by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in registering all military equipment captured.

Expressing concern that the Al‑Shabaab terrorist group continued to derive revenues from charcoal as well as from natural resources in Somalia, the Council renewed the ban on the import and export of charcoal into or out of the country, and requested that AMISOM and Member States help the Federal authorities implement a total ban.

In addition, the Council requested the Monitoring Group to continue to investigate the export to Somalia of chemicals that might be used as oxidisers in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, with a view to considering further action. It called on Members States and the Government to cooperate in that effort.

The Council also expressed concern about continued reports of corruption involving members of the Federal Government Administration and the Federal Parliament, underlining that individuals engaged in acts that threatened Somalia’s peace and reconciliation process might be listed for targeted sanctions.

While recognizing that for over four mandates the Monitoring Group had not found conclusive evidence that Eritrea supported Al‑Shabaab, the Council expressed concern regarding reports of Eritrean support for certain armed groups and again urged the Government to facilitate the Monitoring Group’s entry into that country, which had so far been denied.

The Council, however, welcomed recent efforts by Eritrea’s Government to engage with the international community, underlining that deepened cooperation would enable a better‑informed review of measures on the country. It also urged Eritrea and Djibouti to seek out all available peaceful solutions to their border dispute and engage constructively on the issue of Djiboutian combatants missing in action.

Following the vote, Council members who had abstained voiced their regret that proposals for changing the text to reflect the lack of evidence of support by Eritrea to Al‑Shabaab had not been accepted. They also noted the complex security situation of the region in regard to the many non‑State groups, stressing that sanctions were a means to an end and must be temporary when imposed. They must also change with developments on the ground.

Underscoring that stance, Egypt’s representative also expressed his regret that proposals for a roadmap for Eritrea’s cooperation with the international community had not been included in the text.

China’s representative, highlighting that the text had further room for improvement in regards to sanctions, emphasized the need to prioritize the building of friendly relations among neighbouring States in the Horn of Africa.

However, the representative of the United Kingdom and other supporters of the text recounted ways in which the resolution further strengthened the regime and emphasized the role of the arms embargo and other measures in consolidating stability in Somalia.

Supporters of the text also welcomed the fact that no evidence had been found that Eritrea supported Al‑Shabaab and that there had been some engagement between Eritrea and the international community. At the same time, representatives voiced regret that the country had not allowed the Monitoring Group to enter and fulfil its mandate.

The representative of Italy, Council President for November, described the efforts made to incorporate the concerns of all Council members in developing the draft. He urged Eritrea to respond to the doors being opened for it to restore ties with the international community.

Ethiopia’s representative, meanwhile, said he saw no change in behaviour by Eritrea that would justify lifting sanctions, but noted that he looked forward to improved relations with his country’s neighbour.

Djibouti’s representative, describing lack of progress in resolving the issue of prisoners and other matters, said the Council had sent a clear political signal that Eritrea had only itself to blame for the renewal of sanctions. The resolution offered Eritrea a reasonable pathway to improved relations.

However, Osman Saleh, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Eritrea, said that the Council had missed another opportunity to rectify transgressions against his people, citing the lack of evidence for support of Al‑Shabaab and one‑sided sanctions over the dispute with Djibouti, as well as the Council’s silence on Ethiopia’s occupation of Eritrean territory. He argued that sanctions had worsened conflict in the Horn of Africa by rewarding aggression.

Somalia’s representative broadly welcomed the resolution, particularly the steps being taken to fully implement the charcoal trading ban. Al‑Shabaab remained Somalia’s most pressing threat and security issues remained a top priority for the Government. In that effort, greater international assistance was needed for the Somali National Army and a more robust AMISOM force. Still, he noted his regret that the text had not further aligned the embargo with his country’s national security architecture.

He also noted he had hoped that the text be more explicit in the need to respect Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. As well, he said he wished that the Council had adopted recommendations to curb the use of chemicals used to manufacture improvised explosive devices, particularly in light of the 14 October bomb attack in which 330 people were killed. Nonetheless, he pledged the Government’s enhanced efforts to increase compliance with the sanctions regime.

Also speaking today were representatives of the Russian Federation, Sweden, United States, Uruguay, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, France and Senegal.

The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 11:10 a.m.
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