Security Council updated on work of experts investigating Somali arms ban

Syrian representative Fayssal Mekdad

20 August 2003 – United Nations Security Council members today welcomed the mid-term oral report of the panel of experts commissioned to investigate violations of the arms embargo in Somalia and called on all concerned parties to cooperate with the four-person team in discharging its mandate.

"Members of the Council reiterated their deep concern about the persistent flow of weapons and ammunitions to Somalia," Fayssal Mekdad, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Syria, which holds the Council's rotating presidency for August, said in a press statement. The statement followed a briefing by Ambassador Stefan Tafrov of Bulgaria in his capacity as chairman of the Council's sanctions committee on Somalia.

He said the Council "stressed the responsibility of all Member States to fully implement the arms embargo in Somalia, and reiterated its call upon all Somali and regional parties as well as government officials and other actors contacted outside the region to cooperate with the Panel of Experts in the discharge of its mandate."

The Panel was mandated to identify those who continue to violate the arms embargo and their active supporters, and to refine recommendations provided to the Council.

The 15-member body welcomed the working relationships set up between the Panel and regional and international organizations, in particular the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). It recognized the importance of their continued dialogue and exchange of views and information.

In addition, Council members welcomed the decision of the committee Chairman to lead a mission to the region this October to demonstrate the Council's determination to give full effect to the arms embargo. They discussed the preparation of the mission, and emphasized the need for efficient information campaign to publicize the mission's objectives prior to its departure.

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