MOGADISHU, Somalia – Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the President of Federal Republic of Somalia continues his campaign to have United Nations arms embargo lifted as African Union member states joined his efforts to terminate the restriction.
Now, President Mohamud has Ethiopia and Uganda in backing his campaign. The United Nations Security Council will set to vote on November for renewing the partial ban, but removing this will help Somali army forces to defeat al Shabab – an al Qaeda – linked group.
When did UN Security Council impose an arms embargo on Somalia?
The United Nations Security Council imposed an open ended arms embargo on Somalia in January 1992 as a reaction to the ongoing conflict and deteriorating humanitarian situation in the horn of African nation.
In February 2007, the embargo was amended to allow arms supplies to Somali Government Forces. On 15 November 2019, the Security Council renewed the mandate until 15 December 2020, while also extending exemptions for the arms embargo and enforcement authorizations for the ban on illicit trade.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has secured support for his campaign to have an arms embargo lifted after Ethiopia joined his side. The U.N. Security Council is set to vote in November on renewing the partial ban, which Somalia says should be removed so it can better fight al-Shabab terrorists.
Ethiopia’s support came after a rare July incursion by Islamist militants into Ethiopia amid a large-scale offensive by Somalia and its allies against the group.
President Mohamud and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed say the three-decades-long U.N. Security Council sanctions should be removed so Somalia can better fight the militant Islamist group al-Shabab.
The two leaders issued a joint statement September 30 amid military operation against al Shabab in south and central Somalia.
President Hassan Sheikh has paid a three-day official visit to Uganda after receiving an official invitation from his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni.
The two leaders have exchanged views on the security situation in Somalia and the region, and underscored the need to maintain peace, security and stability in the region and in the African continent as a whole.
Mohamud and Museveni have jointly called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to lift the arms embargo on Somalia.
“The two Heads of State appreciated the support of the United Nations Security Council in the stabilization efforts in Somalia and called on the Council to consider lifting the arms embargo on Somalia to enable the Country shoulder her security responsibilities,” reads the joint communique released after the bilateral talks.
Somali continues its plan to revamp its armed forces to better fight Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab militants, so the sanctions need should be lifted.
Somalia’s international partners should show their interested in supporting the people of Somalia and equipping the country’s troops and must do everything they can to help remove such restrictions.
Years back, Somalia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Abukar Osman also criticized the arms embargo, telling the media that it is outdated and “falls short of taking into account Somalia’s positive new reality on the ground.”
Russia, China and Equatorial Guinea are also with Somalia in removing the arms embargo as they continue to protest against the extension of the arms embargo.