27 May 1999


Press Release
SC/6684



SECURITY COUNCIL EXPRESSES ALARM AT SERIOUS DETERIORATION OF SITUATION IN SOMALIA

19990527
Presidential Statement Condemns Attacks on Civilians, Calls on States to Observe Arms Embargo Imposed in 1992

The Security Council this afternoon expressed its alarm at the serious deterioration in the political, military and humanitarian situation in Somalia and concern at the reports of increasing external interference there.

Through a statement read out by its President, Denis Dangue Rewaka (Gabon), the Council also condemned attacks against civilians and humanitarian workers. Further, it expressed its support for the activities of the Standing Committee on Somalia and called upon all Somali factions to cease immediately all hostilities and to cooperate with the regional and other efforts to achieve peace and reconciliation.

The Council also expressed deep concern at recent reports of the illicit delivery of weapons and military equipment to Somalia, in violation of the arms embargo imposed by the Council in 1992, which, it said, could exacerbate the crisis and endanger regional peace and security.

Thus, the Council reiterated its call upon States to observe the arms embargo and to refrain from any actions which might exacerbate the situation. It further requested Member States having information about violations of the arms embargo to provide that information to the relevant Council Committee.

By a related provision, it expressed deep concern at the humanitarian impact of the long-lasting crisis. In that connection, it urged all parties to guarantee the security and freedom of movement of humanitarian personnel and to ensure unhindered access to those in need of assistance.

It commended the existing coordination of all efforts of the international community to meet the humanitarian needs of the Somali people, undertaken by the Somali Aid Coordination Body. All States were urged to contribute generously to the appeal of the United Nations to ensure continued relief and rehabilitation.


The meeting was called to order at 12:54 p.m. and adjourned at 1:02 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement, which will be issued as S/PRST/1999/16, reads as follows:

"The Security Council expresses its alarm at the serious deterioration in the political, military and humanitarian situation in Somalia and concern at the reports of increasing external interference in Somalia.

"The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia, bearing in mind respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence and unity of Somalia, in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. It reiterates that full responsibility for achieving national reconciliation and for restoring peace rests with the Somali people.

"The Security Council expresses its support for the activities of the Standing Committee on Somalia and calls upon all Somali factions to cease immediately all hostilities and to cooperate with the regional and other efforts to achieve peace and reconciliation.

"The Security Council is deeply concerned at recent reports of the illicit delivery of weapons and military equipment to Somalia in violation of the arms embargo imposed by resolution 733 of 23 January 1992 which would exacerbate the crisis in Somalia and endanger the peace and security of the region as a whole.

"The Security Council reiterates its call upon States to observe the arms embargo and to refrain from any actions which might exacerbate the situation in Somalia. It further requests Member States having information about violations of the provisions of resolution 733 (1992) to provide this information to the Committee created pursuant to resolution 751 of 24 April 1992.

"The Security Council expresses its deep concern at the humanitarian impact of the long-lasting crisis, and in particular condemns attacks or acts of violence against civilians, especially women, children and other vulnerable groups, including internally displaced persons. It also condemns attacks on humanitarian workers, in violation of the rules of international law.

"The Security Council calls upon the Somali factions to cooperate on the basis of the principles of neutrality and non-discrimination with the United Nations agencies and other organizations carrying out humanitarian activities. The Council urges all parties to guarantee the security and the freedom of movement of humanitarian personnel and to ensure unhindered access to those in


Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6684 4010th Meeting (PM) 27 May 1999

need of assistance. In this regard, it also commends the existing coordination of all efforts of the international community to meet the humanitarian needs of the Somali people undertaken b the Somali Aid Coordination Body, comprising donors, United Nations agencies and non- governmental organizations.

"The Security Council urges all States to contribute generously to the appeal of the United Nations to ensure continued relief and rehabilitation efforts in all regions of Somalia, including those aimed at the strengthening of civil society.

"The Security Council welcomes the continuing efforts of the Secretary- General and the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) in Nairobi.

"The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to submit periodic reports on the situation in Somalia.

"The Security Council will remain seized of the matter."

Documents before Council

At the start of the meeting, the Council President drew attention to several recent letters to the Council.

A 14 May letter from Ethiopia's Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, (document S/1999/563), forwarded by Ethiopia's Permanent Representative, draws the Council's attention to a very dangerous development in Somalia caused by Eritrea's involvement in the conflict in Somalia. He urges the Council to condemn Eritrea for those dangerous activities and for its violation of the embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Somalia.

A letter dated 26 May from the Permanent Representative of Eritrea to the United Nations contains a statement issued by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Eritrea (document S/1999/611), concerning Ethiopia's accusations regarding Eritrean involvement in Somalia. The Foreign Minister states that Ethiopia should refrain from its continuous acts of destabilization of Somalia in pursuit of its narrow interests and describes at some length Ethiopia's "wanton acts" of destabilization.

The Permanent Representative of Djibouti, in a letter dated 24 May, (document S/1999/600), expresses apprehension about the widely reported and corroborated accounts of Eritrean weapons and personnel involvement in the "anarchic and clearly explosive situation in Somalia". He, therefore, calls on the Council to take urgent necessary measures designed to thwart Eritrea's "undisguised provocative and destabilizing activities" in the region.

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