Arms Embargo

I. Relevant paragraphs of Security Council resolutions and Committee Guidelines

The exemptions from the arms embargo on Somalia are provided for by the following:

  • Security Council Resolution 2498 (2019): paragraphs 7 to 19
  • Security Council Resolution 2444 (2018): paragraphs 14 to16
  • Security Council Resolution 2385 (2017): paragraphs 2 to 4
  • Security Council Resolution 2142 (2014): paragraphs 2 to 9
  • Security Council Resolution 2111 (2013): paragraphs 6 to 11
  • Committee Guidelines: Section 10

II. Who is entitled to submit the arms embargo exemption requests or notifications?

Only Member States (usually through their Permanent Missions to the United Nations) and international, regional or subregional organizations can submit arms embargo exemption requests or notifications.

III. What type of arms embargo exemptions are currently in force?

There are four types of arms embargo exemptions:

  • for the Committee’s consideration;
  • for the development of Security Forces of the Federal Government of Somalia;
  • for the Committee’s information;
  • standing exemptions;

1. Arms embargo exemptions for the Committee’s consideration

a) Pursuant to paragraph 10 of resolution 2498 (2019), deliveries  of items  in Annex A to resolution 2498 (2019) intended solely for the development of the Somali National Security Forces, or Somali security sector institutions other than those of the FGS, to provide security for the Somali people, require an advance approval by the Committee on a case by -case basis, submitted at least five working days in advance by the FGS or the State or international, regional or subregional organisation delivering assistance. . Such requests must contain the following information:

  1. The type and technical specification of weapons, ammunitions, military equipment and material to be delivered;
  2. The means of transport to be used for the supply of the equipment;
  3. The proposed date of delivery;
  4. The specific place of delivery in Somalia.

b) Pursuant to paragraph 12 of resolution 2498 (2019), , deliveries of weapons and military equipment listed in Annex B to resolution 2498 (2019) or the delivery of technical advice, financial and other assistance, and training related to military activities, intended solely for the purposes of helping develop Somali security sector institutions other than those of the FGS, may be provided in the absence of a negative decision by the Committee within five working days of receiving a notification from the supplying State or international, regional and sub-regional organisation and requests States or international, regional and sub-regional organisations to inform the FGS in parallel of any such deliveries at least five working days in advance. Such notifications must contain the following information:

  1. The type and technical specification of the equipment and/or technical assistance and training;
  2. The intended recipient and end-user of the equipment and/or of the technical assistance and training;
  3. The means of transport to be used for the supply of the equipment;
  4. The port of entry into Somalia.

2. Arms embargo exemptions for the development of Security Forces of the Federal Government of Somalia (advance notifications for the Committee’s information)

a) Pursuant to paragraph 11 of resolution 2498 (2019), deliveries of items in Annex B to resolution 2498 (2019) and the delivery of technical advice, financial and other assistance, and training related to military activities intended so lely for the development of the Somali National Security Forces to provide security for the Somali people are subject to notifications to the Committee for information submitted at least five working days in advance by the FGS or the State or international, regional or subregional organisation delivering assistance. 

Please Note that the Federal Government of Somalia has the primary responsibility to seek approval from or notify the Committee  as applicable of any deliveries of weapons and military equipment or the delivery of technical advice, financial and other assistance, and training related to military activities to the Somali National Security Forces, at least five days in advance, and that the State or international, regional or subregional organisation delivering weapons and military equipment or technical advice, financial and other assistance, and training related to military activities to the Somali National Security Forces, may alternatively, make an advance request for approval or notification, as applicable, in consultation with the FGS. 

Please Also Note that a State or international, regional or subregional o rganisation choosing to make an advance request for approval or notification should inform the appropriate national coordinating body within the FGS of the advance request for approval or notification and provide the FGS with technical support with notification procedures where appropriate, and that the Committee is requested to transmit advance requests for approval and notifications from States or international, regional or subregional organisations to the appropriate national coordinating body in the FGS.

Notifications must contain the following information:

  1. Details of the manufacturer and supplier of the weapons and military equipment;
  2. A description of the arms and ammunition to be delivered, including the type, calibre and quantity;
  3. The proposed date of delivery;
  4. The specific place of delivery;
  5. All relevant information concerning the intended destination unit in the Somali National Security Forces, or the intended place of storage.

b) Pursuant to paragraph 16 of resolution 2498 (2019), where paragraphs 10 or 11 of resolution 2498 (2019) apply, that the Federal Government of Somalia shall no later than 30 days after the delivery of weapons and military equipment, submit to the Committee a post-delivery notification in the form of written confirmation of the completion of any delivery to the Somali National Security Forces,  including:

  1. The serial numbers for the weapons and military equipment delivered;
  2. Shipping information, bill of lading, cargo manifests or packing lists;
  3. The specific place of storage.

Please Note that the supplying Member State, international, regional or subregional organization is encouraged to submit this information as well, in cooperation with the Federal Government of Somalia.

c) Pursuant to paragraph 35 of resolution 2498 (2019), the Federal Government of Somalia shall incorporate the notifications regarding the destination unit in the Somali National Security Forces or the place of storage of military equipment upon distribution of imported arms and ammunition into the regular FGS reporting to the Security Council requested in paragraph 35 of the same.

3. Arms embargo exemptions for the Committee’s information

Pursuant to paragraph 17) of resolution 2498 (2019), the delivery of non-lethal military equipment intended solely for humanitarian or protective use shall be notified to the Committee five days in advance for its information only by the supplying State or international, regional or subregional oganisation. . Such notifications must contain the following information:

  1. The type and technical specification of the equipment;
  2. The intended recipient and end-user of the equipment;
  3. The humanitarian or protective use to which it will be put;
  4. The means of transport to be used for the supply of the equipment;
  5. The port of entry into Somalia;

Please Note that where a request or a notification does not contain all the information, the Chair of the Committee may seek further information from the Member State, international, regional or subregional organizations that submitted the request or the notification.

4. Standing Arms Embargo exemptions

Pursuant to paragraph 19 of resolution 2498 (2019), the following materials and recipients are exempt from the arms embargo. As such, no request or notification needs to be submitted to the Committee for its consideration or information.

a) Supplies of weapons or military equipment or the provision of technical advice, financial and other assistance, and training related to military activities intended solely for the support of or use by United Nations personnel, including the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM); AMISOM’s strategic partners, operating solely under the latest African Union Strategic Concept of Operations, and in cooperation and coordination with AMISOM; and the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) in Somalia, all as per paragraph 10 (a)-(d) of resolution 2111 (2013);

b) Supplies of weapons and military equipment destined for the sole use of  States or international, regional and subregional organizations undertaking measures to suppress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, upon the request of the Federal Government of Somalia for which it has notified the Secretary-General, and provided that any measures undertaken shall be consistent with applicable international humanitarian and human rights law;

c) Supplies of protective clothing, including flak jackets and military helmets, temporarily exported to Somalia by United Nations personnel, representatives of the media and humanitarian and development workers and associated personnel for their personal use only;

d) Entry into Somali ports for temporary visits of vessels carrying weapons and military equipment for defensive purposes provided that such items remain at all times aboard such vessels.

IV. How to make the request for exemptions from the general arms embargo?

Please address requests/notifications in connection with arms embargo exemptions to:

  • The Chair of the Committee, His Excellency Mr. Philippe Kridelka, through the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations

With copies to:

V. Decision-making of the Committee

The Chair will inform in writing the Member States (usually through their Permanent Missions to the United Nations), international, regional or subregional organizations of the decision of the Committee regarding its consideration of exemption requests.