[dehai-news] UN.ORG: SECURITY COUNCIL RE-ESTABLISHES PANEL MONITORING SOMALIA ARMS EMBARGO


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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sat Dec 20 2008 - 08:00:31 EST


20 December 2008

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Security Council

SC/9546

  _____

Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York

Security Council

6050th Meeting (AM)

SECURITY COUNCIL RE-ESTABLISHES PANEL MONITORING SOMALIA ARMS EMBARGO

The Security Council today authorized the re-establishment of the group
monitoring the arms embargo in Somalia for one year and added a fifth expert
to handle the additional tasks it assigned to an expanded mandate.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1853 (2008), submitted by the United Kingdom
under Chapter VII, the Council decided that the Monitoring Group established
pursuant to resolution 1519 (2003) would continue the tasks outlined in
paragraphs 3(a) to (c) of resolution 1844 (2008) -- which strengthened the
arms embargo on the violence-plagued nation of Somalia by specifying
sanctions on violators and expanding the mandate of the Committee that
oversees the ban -- and carry out additionally the tasks outlined in
paragraphs 23(a) to (c) of that resolution.

By today's text, the Monitoring Group would also continue to investigate all
activities, including in the financial, maritime and other sectors, which
generate revenues used to commit arms embargo violations. It would also,
among other duties, continue to investigate any means of transport, routes,
seaports, airports and other facilities used in connection with those
violations.

The Monitoring Group would also continue refining and updating information
on the draft list of those individuals and entities who violated the bans,
first imposed by Security Council resolution 733 (1992). Among other tasks,
it would assist in identifying areas where the capacities of States in the
region could be strengthened to facilitate implementation of the arms
embargo, as well as the measures imposed in paragraph 1, 3 and 7 of
resolution 1844 (2008).

The meeting began at 10:11 a.m. and adjourned at 10:14 a.m.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 1853 (2008) reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Reaffirming its previous resolutions and the statements of its President
concerning the situation in Somalia, in particular resolution 733 (1992) of
23 January 1992, which established an embargo on all delivery of weapons and
military equipment to Somalia (hereinafter referred to as the "arms
embargo"), resolution 1519 (2003) of 16 December 2003, resolution 1558
(2004) of 17 August 2004, resolution 1587 (2005) of 15 March 2005,
resolution 1630 (2005) of 14 October 2005, resolution 1676 (2006) of 10 May
2006, resolution 1724 (2006) of 29 November 2006, resolution 1744 (2007) of
20 February 2007, resolution 1766 (2007) of 23 July 2007, resolution 1772
(2007) of 20 August 2007, resolution 1801 (2008) of 20 February 2008,
resolution 1811 (2008) of 29 April 2008, and resolution 1844 (2008) of 20
November 2008,

"Recalling that, as set out in its resolutions 1744 (2007) and 1772 (2007),
the arms embargo on Somalia does not apply to (a) weapons and military
equipment, technical training and assistance intended solely for support of
or use by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and (b) supplies
and technical assistance by States intended solely for the purpose of
helping develop security sector institutions, consistent with the political
process set out in those resolutions and in the absence of a negative
decision by the Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992)
(hereinafter referred to as "the Committee") within five working days of
receiving an advance notification of such supplies or assistance on a
case-by-case basis,

"Reaffirming the importance of the sovereignty, territorial integrity,
political independence and unity of Somalia,

"Reaffirming that the Djibouti Peace Agreement and follow-on dialogue
process represent the most viable basis for a resolution of the conflict in
Somalia, and reiterating its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting
settlement of the situation in Somalia based on the Transitional Federal
Charter (TFC),

"Reiterating the urgent need for all Somali leaders to take tangible steps
to continue political dialogue,

"Commending the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General,
Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, and reaffirming its strong support for his efforts,

"Taking note of the report of the Monitoring Group dated 10 December 2008
(S/2008/769) submitted pursuant to paragraph 3(i) of resolution 1811 (2008)
and the observations and recommendations contained therein,

"Condemning flows of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia
in violation of the arms embargo as a serious threat to peace and stability
in Somalia,

"Reiterating its insistence that all States, in particular those in the
region, should refrain from any action in contravention of the arms embargo
and should take all necessary steps to hold violators accountable,

"Reiterating and underscoring 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,

"Determining that the situation in Somalia continues to constitute a threat
to international peace and security in the region,

"Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

"1. Stresses the obligation of all States to comply fully with the
measures imposed by resolution 733 (1992), as well as resolution 1844
(2008);

"2. Reiterates its intention to consider specific action to improve
implementation of and compliance with measures imposed by resolution 733
(1992), as well as resolution 1844 (2008);

"3. Decides to extend the mandate of the Monitoring Group referred to in
paragraph 3 of resolution 1558 (2004), and requests the Secretary-General to
take the necessary administrative measures as expeditiously as possible to
re-establish the Monitoring Group for a period of 12 months, drawing, as
appropriate, on the expertise of the members of the Monitoring Group
established pursuant to resolution 1811 (2008), and with the addition of a
fifth expert, in consultation with the Committee, in order to fulfil its
expanded mandate, this mandate being as follows:

"(a) to continue the tasks outlined in paragraphs 3(a) to (c) of resolution
1587 (2005);

"(b) to carry out additionally the tasks outlined in paragraphs 23(a) to
(c) of resolution 1844 (2008);

"(c) 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;

"(d) to continue to investigate any means of transport, routes, seaports,
airports and other facilities used in connection with arms embargo
violations;

"(e) to continue refining and updating information on the draft list of
those individuals and entities who violate the measures implemented by
Member States in accordance with resolution 733 (1992) and paragraphs 8(a)
to (c) of resolution 1844 (2008), inside and outside Somalia, and their
active supporters, for possible future measures by the Council, and to
present such information to the Committee as and when the Committee deems
appropriate;

"(f) to continue making recommendations based on its investigations, on the
previous reports of the Panel of Experts (S/2003/223 and S/2003/1035)
appointed pursuant to resolutions 1425 (2002) of 22 July 2002 and 1474
(2003) of 8 April 2003, and on the previous reports of the Monitoring Group
(S/2004/604, S/2005/153, S/2005/625, S/2006/229, S/2006/913,
S/2007/436,S/2008/274 and S/2008/769) appointed pursuant to resolutions 1519
(2003) of 16 December 2003, 1558 (2004) of 17 August 2004, 1587 (2005) of 15
March 2005, 1630 (2005) of 14 October 2005, 1676 (2006) of 10 May 2006, 1724
(2006) of 29 November 2006, 1766 (2007) of 23 July 2007 and 1811 (2008) of
29 April 2008;

"(g) to work closely with the Committee on specific recommendations for
additional measures to improve overall compliance with the arms embargo, as
well as the measures imposed in paragraphs 1, 3 and 7 of resolution 1844
(2008);

"(h) to assist in identifying areas where the capacities of States in the
region can be strengthened to facilitate the implementation of the arms
embargo, as well as the measures imposed in paragraphs 1, 3 and 7 of
resolution 1844 (2008);

"(i) to provide to the Council, through the Committee, a midterm briefing
within six months of its establishment, and to submit progress reports to
the Committee on a monthly basis;

"(j) to submit, for the Security Council's consideration, through the
Committee, a final report covering all the tasks set out above, no later
than 15 days prior to the termination of the Monitoring Group's mandate;

"4. Further requests the Secretary-General to make the necessary financial
arrangements to support the work of the Monitoring Group;

"5. Reaffirms paragraphs 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10 of resolution 1519 (2003);

"6. Requests the Committee, in accordance with its mandate and in
consultation with the Monitoring Group and other relevant United Nations
entities, to consider the recommendations in the reports of the Monitoring
Group dated 5 April 2006, 16 October 2006, 17 July 2007, 24 April 2008, and
10 December 2008 and recommend to the Council ways to improve implementation
of and compliance with the arms embargo as well as the measures imposed in
paragraphs 1, 3 and 7 of resolution 1844 (2008), in response to continuing
violations;

"7. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."

Background

Before the Security Council this morning for its consideration of the
situation in Somalia was the report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia
pursuant to resolution 1811 (2008) (document S/2008/769). It was
transmitted by Dumisani Kumalo, Chairman of the Committee established
pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia.

The report recalls that the arms embargo on Somalia has been in effect for
more than 16 years. Most serviceable weapons and almost all ammunition
currently available in the country have been delivered since 1992, in
violation of the embargo. Although provisions exist for exemptions to the
embargo to be granted by the Security Council under resolutions 1725 (2006),
1744 (2007), 1772 (2007) and 1816 (2008), no exemption for delivery of arms
and ammunition or other lethal support to any Somali armed force or group
has ever been granted. Consequently, the Monitoring Group believes that
every armed force, group or militia in Somalia, their financiers, active
supporters and, in some cases, foreign donors are currently in violation of
the arms embargo.

According to the report, the pattern of arms embargo violations has remained
fairly constant over the period of the Monitoring Group's mandate, and
appears to be broadly consistent with the findings of the previous report.
The relatively low volume of arms transfers to Somalia reflects a number of
factors: that the conflict is of relatively low intensity; that it is
characterized by irregular warfare waged, with few exceptions, with small
military formations; and the already high density of weapons in circulation
in Somalia.

The Monitoring Group has found few indicators of escalation in the nature
and scope of arms embargo violations over the past six months, its report
says. Somali armed forces and groups remain in possession of fairly limited
arsenals, consisting principally of small arms and crew-served infantry
weapons. At the low end of this range are AK-47s, pistols and hand
grenades; at the high end of the range are anti-aircraft cannons, anti-tank
weapons and medium mortars. There are a small number of functioning
armoured vehicles, artillery pieces and rocket artillery, which are rarely
used in combat.

The presence of Ethiopian forces on Somali territory and its support to
allied Somali groups continue to be regarded by the Monitoring Group as
violations of the arms embargo, says the report. Eritrea continues to
provide political, financial and military support to armed opposition
groups. Yemen remains the most important source of commercial arms
transfers to Somalia. External contributions to build the capacity of the
Transitional Federal Government security forces have provided an important
loophole through which arms, equipment and military skills are diverted to
the open market or to armed opposition groups.

During the current mandate, the Monitoring Group has witnessed continuing
erosion of the cohesion of the Transitional Federal Government,
fragmentation of armed opposition groups and dramatic escalation in the
activities of armed criminal groups, including terrorism and piracy. Unless
there is further progress towards a durable ceasefire, a credible political
process and restoration of effective institutions of governance, such trends
are likely to continue, the report warns. However, failure to enforce the
arms embargo will gravely undermine the prospects for progress on any and
all of these fronts.

The report finds that the disintegration of the residual governance capacity
of the Transitional Federal Government, notably the security sector, has
contributed significantly to the dispersal of arms, ammunition, military
equipment and trained soldiers throughout southern Somalia. The
consequences of this entropy are likely to be sustained and far-reaching, as
they further undermine the prospects for restoration of centralized
authority and a State monopoly over the legitimate use of force.

Despite the haemorrhaging of the security sector, there remains a steady
demand for arms and ammunition from commercial arms markets, chiefly in
Yemen, according to the report. The inability of the Government of Yemen to
stem the flow of weapons across the Gulf of Aden has long been, and is
likely to remain, a key obstacle to the restoration of peace and security to
Somalia. Curbing the flow of Yemeni weapons to Somalia will require a
package of robust political pressures and incentives, capacity-building
programmes for coast guards around the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, and direct
naval action to interdict arms trafficking.

The phenomenal growth of piracy in recent months is also in part driven by
non-enforcement of the arms embargo, the report says. The expansion of
maritime militias has benefited from ready access to arms and ammunition.
The Group has identified an overlap between piracy, contraband and arms
trafficking across the Gulf of Aden. It has also established that piracy
networks benefit from the complicity and protection of senior officials in
the Puntland administration. In addition to the type of maritime operations
envisaged by EU NAVCO, Combined Task Force-150 and other maritime security
forces, the Monitoring Group believes that interdiction of arms trafficking
across the Gulf of Aden and the imposition of targeted sanctions against key
pirate leaders and their sponsors in the Puntland administration would
contribute significantly to international piracy efforts.

At the same time, the Monitoring Group says there is no escaping the
importance of escalating ransom payments in fuelling the growth of piracy
(and the related crime of kidnapping) and in financing violations of the
arms embargo. Piracy attacks have become the most lucrative economic
activity in Somalia, and the pirates are using part of the ransom monies to
upgrade their arsenals in order to become more effective and efficient in
their operations. Unless international action is able to reverse the
cost-benefit ratio that drives the piracy phenomenon, it is likely to remain
a scourge to international shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and
to peace and security in Somalia.

The Monitoring Group recommends the following: that the sanctions Committee
request the Transitional Federal Government and the African Union Mission of
Somalia to report on measures taken for the establishment of a transparent
process for the management and disposal of weapons, and that letters be sent
to the Transitional Federal Government, AMISOM and the Government of
Ethiopia; that the Committee request that the Transitional Federal
Government, AMISOM and any other international forces to be deployed in the
future to Somalia put in place transparent systems for the registration,
management and disposal of weapons, ammunition and explosive stockpiles in
accordance with international practices; that emphasis be placed on rapid
destruction of surplus and that the Committee be informed within two months
of the measures taken in this respect.

On tracing weapons, a key element in its efforts to document arms embargo
violations in Somalia, the Monitoring Group recommends that the Committee
remind Member States of their obligations under the International Instrument
to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner,
Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons; and that the Security Council require
States and international organizations that come into possession of weapons,
ammunition or military material, that is either on Somali territory or is
destined for Somalia or has originated in Somalia, to record the identifying
characteristics of those items and share them with the Monitoring Group, in
accordance with paragraph 6 of Security Council resolution 1425 (2002).

The Monitoring Group recommends that the Security Council consider
establishing more precise guidelines for the notification of support to
Somali security sector institutions, including the identification of any
executing agencies and/or implementing partners involved in the programme;
revisiting exemptions on a periodic basis to determine whether or not the
exemption should be renewed; permit verification of such activities by the
Monitoring Group in order to ensure that they are consistent with the
exemption authorized; and that the Council consider formally extending to
international organizations, including United Nations specialized agencies,
the requirement to notify the Committee in advance of security sector
support programmes.

Concerning piracy, the Monitoring Group recommends that the Security Council
authorize international naval forces in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian
Ocean, including Combined Task Force-150, EU NAVCO, the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization (NATO) maritime force, and the Russian naval component,
to seize any weapons encountered in the course of their operations and to
actively interdict arms trafficking according to their capabilities; request
the same naval forces to share information relating to weapons seizures with
the Monitoring Group; revisit the proposal to establish a maritime
administration caretaker authority for Somalia, in order to ensure the
monitoring, control and surveillance of Somali waters; encourage Member
States to provide capacity-building and support for the operations of the
Somali Coast Guard forces, notably Somaliland and Puntland, as well as the
navies and coast guards of regional States such as Kenya, Yemen and
Djibouti; and take under consideration the issue of ransom payments for the
release of vessels hijacked off the Somali coast, and the linkage between
ransom payments and arms embargo violations, and adopt a common position on
the legality of such payments.

 

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