16/12/2003
Press Release
SC/7957



Security Council

4885th Meeting* (PM)


SECURITY COUNCIL REQUESTS ESTABLISHMENT OF MONITORING GROUP


TO INVESTIGATE VIOLATIONS OF ARMS EMBARGO ON SOMALIA


Resolution 1519 (2003) Adopted Unanimously


Reiterating its serious concern over the continued flow of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia from sources outside the country, the Security Council today asked the Secretary-General to establish a Monitoring Group as soon as possible, for six months, to focus on the ongoing arms embargo violations, including transfers of ammunition, single use weapons and small arms.


Acting under Chapter VII in the United Nations Charter and through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1519 (2003), the Council detailed the mandate of the Monitoring Group, which would include up to four experts, to investigate the violations of the arms embargo covering access to Somalia by land, air and sea.


The Monitoring Group would also detail information and make specific recommendations related to violations and measures to give effect to and strengthen implementation of the arms embargo.


Further to the text, the Group would carry out field-based investigations in Somalia and in neighbouring and other States.  And, it would assess the progress made by the States in the region to implement fully the arms embargo, including through a review of national customs and border control regimes.


Also, the Group would provide the Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) to oversee the arms embargo with a draft list of those who continued to violate it inside and outside Somalia, and their active supporters, for possible future measures by the Council.  The Council would also have the Group make recommendations based on its investigations.


Under related provisions, the Council called on all States in the region and regional organizations to establish focal points to enhance cooperation with the Monitoring Group and to facilitate information exchange.  It called on the neighbouring States to report to the Committee quarterly on their efforts, bearing in mind their crucial role in implementing the arms embargo.


Somalia had suffered a decade of anarchy and famine until a national reconciliation process began with a multi-faction peace conference in Arta, Djibouti, in the middle of 2000, and the formation of a transitional government.  That process culminated in the signing in October 2002 in Kenya of the Declaration of Cessation of Hostilities and the Structures and Principles of the Somalia National Reconciliation Process.


The Council met last March to express its strong regret that, even after the signing of the Declaration, fighting continued to break out.  On 8 April, it re-established, for six months, the Panel of Experts it had set up last September to investigate violations of the arms embargo, established by the Council in resolution 7433 (1992), saying that the continued flow of weapons to the country severely undermined peace and political efforts at reconciliation.  Months later, on 11 November, the Council urged Somali leaders to reach agreement on a viable government and a durable solution to the conflict through an upcoming “Leaders Meeting” in Kenya.


The meeting, which was called to order at 1:58 p.m., adjourned at 2 p.m.


Resolution


The text of resolution 1519 (2003) reads, as follows:


“The Security Council,


Reaffirming its previous resolutions 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 1356 (2001) of 19 June 2001, resolution 1407 (2002) of 3 May 2002, resolution 1425 (2002) of 22 July 2002, resolution 1474 (2003) of 8 April 2003, and the statements of its President of   12 March 2003 (S/PRST/2003/2), and of 11 November 2003 (S/PRST/2003/19),


“Reiterating its firm support for the Somali National Reconciliation Process and the ongoing Somali National Reconciliation Conference, commending the efforts of Kenya as the host of the Conference sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and reaffirming the importance of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, consistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,


“Reiterating its insistence that all States, in particular those of the region, should not interfere in the internal affairs of Somalia. Such interference only further destabilizes Somalia, contributes to a climate of fear and impacts adversely on human rights, and could jeopardize the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia. Stressing that the territory of Somalia should not be used to undermine stability in the subregion,


“Reiterating its serious concern over the continued flow of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia from sources outside the country, in contravention of the arms embargo, bearing in mind that the Somali National Reconciliation Process and the implementation of the arms embargo serve as mutually reinforcing processes,


“Having considered the report of the Panel of Experts dated 4 November 2003 (S/2003/l035) submitted pursuant to paragraph 7 of resolution 1474 (2003),


“Welcoming the mission of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) of 24 April 1992 (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”), led by the Chairman of the Committee, to the States in the region from 11 to 21 November 2003 as a step towards giving full effect to the arms embargo,


“Reiterating the importance of improving the implementation and enhancing the monitoring of the arms embargo in Somalia through persistent and vigilant investigation into violations of the arms embargo, and expressing its determination of holding those violators accountable,


“Determining that the situation in Somalia constitutes 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 and other actors to comply fully with resolution 733 (1992) and resolution 1356 (2001), and reaffirms that non-compliance constitutes a violation of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations;


“2.   Requests the Secretary-General to establish a monitoring group (hereinafter referred to as the “Monitoring Group”) composed of up to four experts, for a period of 6 months commencing as soon as possible from the date of the adoption of the resolution, to be based in Nairobi, with the following mandate, which should focus on the ongoing arms embargo violations, including transfers of ammunition, single use weapons, and small arms,:


(a)   to investigate the violations of the arms embargo covering access to Somalia by land, air and sea;


(b)   to detail information and make specific recommendations in relevant areas of expertise related to violations and measures to give effect to and strengthen the implementation of the arms embargo in its various aspects;


(c)   to carry out field based investigations, in Somalia, where possible and in States neighbouring Somalia and other States, as appropriate;


(d)   to assess the progress made by the States in the region to implement fully the arms embargo, including through a review of national customs and border control regimes;


(e)   to provide the Committee in its final report with a draft list of those who continue to violate the arms embargo inside and outside Somalia, and their active supporters, for possible future measures by the Council;


(f)   to make recommendations based on its investigations and the previous reports of the Panel of Experts (S/2003/223 and S/2003/1035) appointed pursuant to resolution 1425 (2002) and 1474 (2003);


“3.   Further requests the Secretary-Genera1 to make the necessary financial arrangements to support the work of the Monitoring Group;

“4.   Requests all Somali and regional parties as well as government officials and other actors contacted outside the region to cooperate fully with the Monitoring Group in the discharge of its mandate, and requests the Monitoring Group to notify the Security Council immediately, through the Committee, of any lack of cooperation;


“5.   Calls upon all States in the region and regional organizations, in particular the IGAD, the African Union (AU), and the League of Arab States (LAS), to establish focal points to enhance cooperation with the Monitoring Group and to facilitate information exchange;


“6.   Requests the Monitoring Group to provide a mid-term briefing to the Council, through the Committee, and to submit a final report at the end of its mandated period to the Security Council, through the Committee, for its consideration;


“7.   Encourages all States signatories to the Nairobi Declaration on the Problem of the Proliferation of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons to implement quickly the measures required by the Coordinated Agenda for Action as an Important means in support of the arms embargo on Somalia;


“8.   Calls on the neighbouring States to report to the Committee quarterly on their efforts to implement the arms embargo, bearing in mind their crucial role in the implementation of the arms embargo;


“9.   Encourages the donor community, including the IGAD Partner Forum group, to provide technical and material assistance to States in the region, as well as to the regional organizations, IGAD, AU and LAS, in support of their national and regional capacity for monitoring and implementing the arms embargo, including for monitoring the coastline, land and air boundaries with Somali;


“10.  Encourages Member States from the region to continue their efforts in enacting legislation or regulations, necessary to ensure the effective implementation of the arms embargo;


“11.  Expresses its determination to review the situation regarding the implementation of the arms embargo in Somalia on the basis of information provided by the Monitoring Group in its reports;


“12.  Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”


Background


When the Security Council met this afternoon, it had before it the Report of the Panel of Experts on Somalia pursuant to resolution 1474 (2003) (document S/2003/1035).  The Panel was appointed by the Secretary-General pursuant to resolution 1474 (2003) of 8 April for a six-month period to gather independent information on violations of the arms embargo against Somalia and to provide recommendations on practical measures for its implementation.  An arms embargo had been established by resolution 733 (1992).  The report was transmitted through a letter dated 4 November from the Chairman of the Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992), Stefan Tafrov (Bulgaria).


The report shows a disturbing picture of a continuous influx of small quantities of weapons and ammunition that feed the local open arms markets and faction leaders’ warehouses in Somalia, even though major violations of the embargo over the last six months, using large vessels or heavy cargo aircraft, show a reduction over the previous years.  The Panel has found evidence linking embargo violations with illicit arms flows to neighbouring countries, piracy, and the activities of armed groups and extremists beyond Somalia’s borders.


According to the report, weapons shipments tend to originate in, or are routed through, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.  Dhows sailing from Yemen to the north-east coast of Somalia carry much of the traffic.  On average, shipments arrive in Somalia from Yemen two to three times a week.  The regulation of air traffic in Somali airspace is very limited, and the 1,600 kilometres long border between Somalia and Ethiopia is largely unmonitored.


Transnational terrorists have been able to obtain not only small arms, but also man-portable air defence systems, light anti-tank weapons and explosives, the report notes.  The terrorists responsible for the bombing of the Paradise Hotel in 2002 in Mombasa, Kenya, and the attempted attack on flight 582 from Mombasa to Tel Aviv, Israel, brought missiles from Yemen via Somalia to Kenya.


Front-line States and regional actors are key external players in Somali affairs.  Although they have shown greater respect for the arms embargo over the past six months, many of them persist in violations and few of them have taken active measures to curb commercial arms transfers to Somalia.  The Panel had found their support for its work lacking, according to the report.


Noting that many observers attribute reduced arms flows in recent months to the active monitoring of violations by the Council, the Panel concludes that, as the Somali peace process enters a critical and difficult state, enforcement of the embargo and robust monitoring can help to reinforce commitment to dialogue, reduce the scope for renewed armed conflict, and mitigate its consequences if it happens.  The Panel, therefore, recommends that, given the uncertainty of Somali political reconciliation and the escalating cycle of violence in Somalia, a more systematic monitoring mechanism be established in a timely fashion, and that monitoring of the embargo should continue without interruption.


The Panel recommends improved cooperation with front-line and neighbouring States, regional and subregional organizations, and non-State actors involved in disarmament, demobilization, ceasefire monitoring and anti-crime and anti-terrorism in a coordinated effort to enforce the arms embargo.  It also recommends establishment of a caretaker authority for the Somali coast and enhancement of air traffic monitoring and oversight by the Civil Aviation Caretaker Authority for Somalia.


The Panel supports the recommendation that a list should be compiled of individuals or groups engaged in the illegal manufacture, trade, stockpiling, transfer, possession, insurance and financing of the acquisition of illicit weapons.  It recommends that violators of the arms embargo, be they dealers, brokers, airline or shipping companies of businessmen in Somalia, be banned from receiving United Nations contracts.  All countries and currency printing companies should stop printing Somali shillings until a legitimate government has assigned an authority to print money.  Existing stockpiles of Somali or Somaliland shillings should be destroyed.


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*     The 4884th Meeting of 16 December was closed.