|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7181st Meeting (PM)
Improved Management of Munitions Vital for Peace in Somalia, Security Council
Presidential Statement Stresses
Special Representative Notes Significant Gains, Despite Security Challenges
Emphasizing that improved arms and ammunition management in Somalia was a fundamental component of greater peace and stability for Somalia and the region, the Security Council today urged that country’s federal Government to show tangible progress complying with the terms of the partial suspension of the arms embargo.
In a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2014/9), the Council stated it remained concerned about the diversion of arms and ammunition, including potentially to Al-Shabaab, as highlighted in resolution 2142 (2014). The Federal Government’s establishment of the Arms and Ammunition Steering Committee as an overall body responsible for such management was, therefore, welcomed. In addition, the Weapons and Ammunition Management Technical Working Group should play an important role towards improving weapons management
The Council stressed that international support of the federal Government of Somalia was critical, in particular, with the Office of the National Security Adviser, which coordinated the federal Government’s reporting obligations to the Council, and oversaw the national architecture for weapons and ammunition management.
The Council called for Member States to provide financing and in-kind resources to accelerate key deliverables as noted in the 2014 work plan of the Arms and Ammunition Steering Committee and its working group. In addition, five weapons-marking machines would be required for mobile units for armouries outside of Mogadishu and interim weapons storage facilities.
Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), addressing the Council via video teleconference, stated that, despite security challenges the United Nations family had “a larger presence on the ground in Somalia than at any time in the last 18 years”. A year ago, the federal Government had asked the United Nations for “one door to knock on” in order to coordinate international assistance while it emerged from decades of conflict. In response, the Mission had established an integrated United Nations presence across the country and strong partnerships had been built with the Federal Government, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), European Union and the Somalia’s neighbouring countries and regional partners.
Somalia had made political, economic and security progress, particularly in the last quarter, he continued. Some achievements included an active engagement with the Interim Juba Administration and support for a three region solution for State-building in southwest Somalia. Relations between Mogadishu and Puntland were growing stronger. Economic progress had been made, as well, albeit from a “distressingly low base”. Still, the recently approved budget, of which half would be funded by tax revenue, was double that of last year’s.
However, despite those gains, significant challenges remained, he said. Although the federal Government had been close to finalizing a blueprint for building a federal Somalia, revising and implementing the Constitution and preparing for the 2016 elections, that critical plan remained pending. Further, among other issues, gender-based violence remained “unacceptably high” and efforts were being made to implement the Organization’s “Team of Experts” on sexual violence. Although the Mission was working with the Government and AMISOM to provide training on human rights and refugee law, to name a few, the National Human Rights Commission needed to be established.
In his extensive travels, Mr. Kay said that he had “listened closely to the concerns and hopes of the Somali people”, and the loud and clear message from them was that they wanted a stable and united country. However, the country was approaching a “danger zone” in a number of areas. There needed to be urgent progress in revising and implementing the Constitution, establishing the federal States and preparing for elections. The current political crisis in Mogadishu, which included 100 Parliament members calling for the President’s resignation, could herald a return to deadlock and infighting that had paralysed them since 2000. In addition, progress on security and stabilization in newly recovered areas was needed, ensuring access currently obstructed by Al-Shabaab activity. The lack of military helicopters for AMISOM was a critical obstacle, and without further contributions to the Somali National Army Trust Fund, vital logistical support would be “impossible”.
There were also “troubling similarities” between the current situation and that before the 2012 famine, he continued. The existing crisis could worsen as a result of ongoing conflict, little rainfall and a lack of sustained access to towns because of Al-Shabaab’s tactics blocking main supply routes. In addition, the funding crisis affecting existing humanitarian operations was further exacerbating the situation, with the Consolidated Appeal having only received 19 per cent of the $933 million request. The funding situation was so bad that aid agencies were considering closing down. The United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICF) primary health-care service for 3 million people was on the verge of being cut and $60 million would be needed immediately in order to maintain life-saving operations over the next two to three months. The period between today and his next briefing would be a testing time for Somalia. He was confident the country’s leaders would rise to the occasion and hailed the collective efforts being made by all stakeholders. Paying tribute to those who had lost their lives working in Somalia, he concluded, stating: “Building peace comes at a price, but, as we all recognize, failure is a cost we cannot afford.”
Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Head of AMISOM, adding to those remarks, said that, even though challenges were numerous, the first phase of military operations had just come to an end on 30 April. Logistical obstacles were being overcome. Security had clearly improved, despite persistent suicide attacks and targeted killings and the use of improvised explosive devices. An “after-action review” in Addis Ababa would be held to record lessons learned and challenges to overcome.
The Mission continued to deploy police presence and support supply routes around the freed towns, he went on to say. Further, it was also training the Somalia military to secure rural areas and continuing to conduct quick-impact projects. Still, the helicopter issue was crucial to all parties and a solution on that matter would be needed.
Turning to the federal Government, he supported the comments made by Mr. Kay. The African Union was supporting local elections for freed towns’ administrations. Nonetheless, among the challenges facing the country was that the Somalia military had not received salaries and needed to be paid.
The humanitarian situation remained of great concern, as did the financing of the special fund to support Somalia forces, he said, urging that partners to assist with the requested resources, so that the federal Government could fulfil its mandate.
The meeting began at 12:04 p.m. and ended at 12:30 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2014/9 reads as follows:
“The Security Council welcomes the Secretary-General’s 3 April letter to the President of the Security Council (‘the letter’ — S/2014/243), identifying options for supporting the federal Government of Somalia to meet its obligations under the partial suspension of the arms embargo. The Security Council underlines that improved arms and ammunition management in Somalia is a fundamental component of greater peace and stability for both Somalia and the region.
“The Security Council underscores the need for the federal Government of Somalia to show tangible progress in complying with the terms of the partial suspension of the arms embargo, as highlighted in both the letter and resolution 2142 (2014). The Security Council remains concerned about the diversion of arms and ammunition, including potentially to Al-Shabaab, which was also highlighted in resolution 2142 (2014). In that regard, the Security Council welcomes the federal Government of Somalia’s establishment of an Arms and Ammunition Steering Committee as the overall body responsible for arms and ammunition management. The Security Council highlights the important role which should also be played by the Weapons and Ammunition Management Technical Working Group (Working Group) with respect to improving weapons management. The Security Council reiterates that its decision in October 2014 on the continuation of the suspension of the arms embargo will be informed by the federal Government of Somalia’s compliance with its obligations to carry out Security Council decisions.
“The Security Council underlines the importance of the international community supporting the federal Government of Somalia in the areas identified in the letter. In particular the Security Council underlines the urgent need for international support to the Office of the National Security Adviser, which coordinates the federal Government's reporting obligations to the Security Council, as well as oversees the national architecture for weapons and ammunition management. The Security Council appeals to Member States and relevant international and regional organizations to provide support and equipment which focus on:
i) Improving the federal Government of Somalia’s reporting to the Security Council on the structure of its security forces, as well as improving its notifications to the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea (‘Sanctions Committee’);
ii) Completing a baseline registration survey of the Somali Security Sector;
iii) Starting a weapons marking and registration process, in order to inform future verification activities.
“The Security Council encourages Member States to provide financing and in-kind resources to accelerate key deliverables in the 2014 work plan of the Arms and Ammunition Steering Committee and its Working Group.
“The Security Council also emphasizes in particular the need for five weapons marking machines, equipment required for mobile marking units for armouries outside of Mogadishu and interim weapons storage facilities.
“The Security Council underlines to all Member States and international organizations that all deliveries of military equipment and notifications should be coordinated through the Office of the National Security Adviser, which the federal Government of Somalia has identified as the coordinating entity for arms and ammunition management.
“The federal Government of Somalia should consider establishing a joint verification team with international experts. The team should focus on physical verification of arms and ammunition provided to the federal Government, as well as the systems of control in place for arms and ammunition management. The team should focus on supporting the federal Government of Somalia in complying with the decisions of the Security Council and the Sanctions Committee, in particular with respect to arms and ammunition management. The Security Council underlines that this team would complement the work of, and should coordinate with, the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG), in order to avoid any duplication in their respective activities. The Security Council encourages Member States, UNSOM, and relevant UN agencies, funds and programmes, to support the establishment of this team. The Security Council further encourages Member States to provide sufficient financial resources to support the prompt establishment of this team.
“The Security Council highlights that the work of the SEMG is of paramount importance. The Security Council reiterates paragraph 32 of resolution 2111 (2013) and reminds the federal Government of Somalia of the importance of cooperating with the Group. In that context, the Security Council encourages the SEMG to increase its presence in Mogadishu and step up its interaction with the Office of the National Security Adviser, including by regular participation in the meetings of the Working Group.
“The Security Council encourages all relevant members of the international community, UNSOM, UN agencies and the African Union to support the federal Government of Somalia in improving its arms and ammunition management, including through providing financial and in-kind support to enhance their capacity. The Security Council underlines that the federal Government of Somalia is ultimately responsible for the management of its weapons and military equipment. The Security Council highlights its expectation that the Federal Government of Somalia will make substantive progress in the months ahead.”
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