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Extending Arms Embargoes on Somalia, Eritrea, Security Council Adopts Resolution 2385 (2017) by 11 votes in Favour, 4 Abstentions

Key Representatives Disagree on Text’s Effectiveness with Sanctions, Compliance

The Security Council today extended the modified arms embargo on Somalia and the authorization for maritime interdiction of illicit arms imports and charcoal exports until 15 November 2018, as well as the renewal of the arms ban on Eritrea for that same period.

Adopting resolution 2385 (2017) by a vote of 11 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (Bolivia, China, Egypt, Russian Federation), the Council also extended the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group until 15 December 2018.

Extending the humanitarian exemptions to the sanctions and reiterating that the arms embargo on Somalia did not apply to deliveries of military goods for the federal security forces, the resolution restated the need to keep such weapons out of the hands of other parties through application of strict guidelines by the Government and its partners.  It again urged increased cooperation by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in registering all military equipment captured.

Expressing concern that the Al‑Shabaab terrorist group continued to derive revenues from charcoal as well as from natural resources in Somalia, the Council renewed the ban on the import and export of charcoal into or out of the country, and requested that AMISOM and Member States help the Federal authorities implement a total ban.

In addition, the Council requested the Monitoring Group to continue to investigate the export to Somalia of chemicals that might be used as oxidisers in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, with a view to considering further action.  It called on Members States and the Government to cooperate in that effort.

The Council also expressed concern about continued reports of corruption involving members of the Federal Government Administration and the Federal Parliament, underlining that individuals engaged in acts that threatened Somalia’s peace and reconciliation process might be listed for targeted sanctions.

While recognizing that for over four mandates the Monitoring Group had not found conclusive evidence that Eritrea supported Al‑Shabaab, the Council expressed concern regarding reports of Eritrean support for certain armed groups and again urged the Government to facilitate the Monitoring Group’s entry into that country, which had so far been denied.

The Council, however, welcomed recent efforts by Eritrea’s Government to engage with the international community, underlining that deepened cooperation would enable a better‑informed review of measures on the country.  It also urged Eritrea and Djibouti to seek out all available peaceful solutions to their border dispute and engage constructively on the issue of Djiboutian combatants missing in action.

Following the vote, Council members who had abstained voiced their regret that proposals for changing the text to reflect the lack of evidence of support by Eritrea to Al‑Shabaab had not been accepted.  They also noted the complex security situation of the region in regard to the many non‑State groups, stressing that sanctions were a means to an end and must be temporary when imposed.  They must also change with developments on the ground.

Underscoring that stance, Egypt’s representative also expressed his regret that proposals for a roadmap for Eritrea’s cooperation with the international community had not been included in the text.

China’s representative, highlighting that the text had further room for improvement in regards to sanctions, emphasized the need to prioritize the building of friendly relations among neighbouring States in the Horn of Africa.

However, the representative of the United Kingdom and other supporters of the text recounted ways in which the resolution further strengthened the regime and emphasized the role of the arms embargo and other measures in consolidating stability in Somalia.

Supporters of the text also welcomed the fact that no evidence had been found that Eritrea supported Al‑Shabaab and that there had been some engagement between Eritrea and the international community.  At the same time, representatives voiced regret that the country had not allowed the Monitoring Group to enter and fulfil its mandate.

The representative of Italy, Council President for November, described the efforts made to incorporate the concerns of all Council members in developing the draft.  He urged Eritrea to respond to the doors being opened for it to restore ties with the international community.

Ethiopia’s representative, meanwhile, said he saw no change in behaviour by Eritrea that would justify lifting sanctions, but noted that he looked forward to improved relations with his country’s neighbour.

Djibouti’s representative, describing lack of progress in resolving the issue of prisoners and other matters, said the Council had sent a clear political signal that Eritrea had only itself to blame for the renewal of sanctions.  The resolution offered Eritrea a reasonable pathway to improved relations.

However, Osman Saleh, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Eritrea, said that the Council had missed another opportunity to rectify transgressions against his people, citing the lack of evidence for support of Al‑Shabaab and one‑sided sanctions over the dispute with Djibouti, as well as the Council’s silence on Ethiopia’s occupation of Eritrean territory.  He argued that sanctions had worsened conflict in the Horn of Africa by rewarding aggression.

Somalia’s representative broadly welcomed the resolution, particularly the steps being taken to fully implement the charcoal trading ban.  Al‑Shabaab remained Somalia’s most pressing threat and security issues remained a top priority for the Government.  In that effort, greater international assistance was needed for the Somali National Army and a more robust AMISOM force.  Still, he noted his regret that the text had not further aligned the embargo with his country’s national security architecture.

He also noted he had hoped that the text be more explicit in the need to respect Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  As well, he said he wished that the Council had adopted recommendations to curb the use of chemicals used to manufacture improvised explosive devices, particularly in light of the 14 October bomb attack in which 330 people were killed.  Nonetheless, he pledged the Government’s enhanced efforts to increase compliance with the sanctions regime.

Also speaking today were representatives of the Russian Federation, Sweden, United States, Uruguay, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, France and Senegal.

The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 11:10 a.m.

Statements

MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom), welcoming the adoption of the draft, said the text not only provided continued support for the consolidation of progress in Somalia, through measures already established, but added new measures that strengthened the regime further.  Turning to Eritrea, he welcomed the mediation process, but stressed that the effort must be reciprocated.  The route that Eritrea must take for that purpose was further cooperation which would allow the Monitoring Group to fulfil its mandate and clarify all outstanding issues.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia), acknowledging the work of the Monitoring Group and thanking all those who voted for the text, said that the sanctions regime was critical for the peace and security of the region as well as for the whole of Africa.  He noted that he was appreciative of the adoption not because he was fond of sanctions but because there were no good alternatives in a region that vulnerable to instability and terrorism.  Necessary support must be provided to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as well as to the Somali federal forces.  As for Eritrea, no change of behaviour had been seen in its destabilizing activities.  The lack of conclusive evidence was no reason to lift the sanctions.  The issue could be clarified by allowing in the Monitoring Group.  It was also incumbent on Eritrea to clarify the issue of prisoners of war and fulfilment of other obligations.  The country had not shown any readiness to cooperate further in order to lift the sanctions.  Nonetheless, he underscored that he looked forward with great hope to Eritrea’s living in peace with the other countries of the region.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said he would have preferred more of a review regarding the sanctions on Eritrea, given the lack of conclusive evidence for that country’s support for Al‑Shabaab.  Stamping out the threat of non‑State actors was a common concern of all the countries in the region, he said, adding that his abstention was in line with his general position on sanctions as temporary measures to which the Council should engage only as a last resort.  Such measures could not be carried on forever and must be regularly reviewed as the situation on the ground evolved.  His proposals along that line had not been taken into account.  He emphasized that it was critical to end financing of terrorism in the region.

PETR V. ILIICHEV (Russian Federation), recalling why the sanctions had been imposed, said that the situation on the ground had shifted.  There was a lack of evidence for Eritrean support to Al‑Shabaab.  The issue of non‑State armed groups was a complex one in the regime.  Some of those groups had a presence in capitals of some of the countries sitting around the table.  The text this year had not improved, but had worsened.  A road map for Eritrean cooperation had not been included at all.  A selective approach had instead been utilized by the penholders.

OLOF SKOOG (Sweden), expressing deep regret that the Council had failed to reach consensus on the resolution, said the sanctions regime in Somalia played a critical role in supporting the international efforts to defeat Al‑Shabaab.  There was a long road ahead for the country, with many important tasks remaining.  The international community and the Somali people must stay the course.  Turning to Eritrea, he said the Council must continuously assess whether measures adopted were achieving their objectives.  Sanctions were not an end in themselves, he said, adding that Eritrea must cooperate with the Committee and the Monitoring Group to confirm that it was not supporting Al‑Shabaab.  That would enable the Council to review the sanctions regime.

MICHELE J. SISON (United States) said that renewing the mandate of the Monitoring Group signalled further support for stability in the region.  However, while engagement between the international community and Eritrea was welcomed, she expressed disappointment that the Monitoring Group had not been allowed into the country to fulfil its mandate, given many unanswered questions.  Welcoming progress in Somalia, she stressed that the Government must now work to make life better for the Somali people.  Good governance was essential in that effort, as was the continued fight against Al‑Shabaab and Al‑Qaida.  Voicing her commitment to Somalia, she joined Council members in sending a strong message of such support by the adoption of today’s text.

WU HAITAO (China), expressing strong support for the peace and stability of the countries in the Horn of Africa, called on them to work together for that purpose.  He stressed that sanctions were a means, rather than an end in themselves and should be adjusted according to the situation on the ground.  As the text this year had further room for improvement in that regard, he had abstained, he noted, emphasizing the importance of friendly neighbourly relations between States.

LUIS BERMÚDEZ (Uruguay) observed that in Somalia, the sanctions regime was curbing the flow of arms to Al‑Shabaab.  The Government of Eritrea must allow the Monitoring Group to visit the country, he added, noting that it had found no evidence for Eritrean support to Al‑Shabaab.  If that visit were allowed, then the Council could remove the country from the sanctions list.  The Council must now consider other methods to address the conflicts in Africa.  Sanctions were a tool, not an end in themselves.  While the text did not disassociate the sanctions regimes, he had nevertheless decided to support the resolution, he said.

KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009), said terrorist organizations were continuing their activities.  Therefore, peacebuilding efforts should be redoubled.  Somalia needed every support from the Sanctions Committee.  While welcoming progress made in Somalia, he stressed that all measures must be taken to prevent attacks against humanitarian actors and allow those actors unhindered access.  He also noted that the Monitoring Group had not found conclusive evidence of Eritrean support to Al‑Shabaab.  Turning to the matter of Djibouti prisoners of war in Eritrea, he called on both sides to continue to resolve the issues, maintain calm and resolve the border dispute peacefully.  Sanctions were a last resource, he said, stressing that as Chair of the Sanctions Committee he was committed to working in an open and constructive manner to solve the problems.  He called on all States to implement the measures suggested in the resolution.

SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia), expressing support for the Monitoring Group, said he had abstained from voting, because sanctions were not an end in themselves, but were a tool of last resort.  They must be constantly assessed.  Confidence‑building measures must be the actions of all Member States.  Eritrea must allow the Monitoring Group to visit as a matter of transparency, he said, calling on that country to act in the interest of the region.  He also called on Member States to support the African Union’s efforts.

ANNE GUEGUEN (France), extending condolences to the people of Somalia for the recent attacks in Mogadishu, welcomed the adoption of the resolution in the interest of the security of the region.  In regards to Eritrea, a balanced, realistic approach was needed.  Although it was true that there had been no evidence found of the country supporting Al‑Shabaab, she noted that Eritrea had not reciprocated gestures of cooperation made by the international community and had not allowed the Monitoring Group to visit.

GORGUI CISS (Senegal), welcoming the resolution’s adoption, said that the ongoing concerns listed in the text reflected the challenges that continued to face Somalia.  He voiced support for recent agreements for a regional approach to security and measures in the resolution that targeted resources which sustained Al‑Shabaab.  Eritrea’s restoration of links with the international community was important, he added, noting the continued lack of evidence of that country’s support for Al‑Shabaab.

SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy), Council President for November, highlighted his country’s historic ties with the region and welcomed the text’s adoption, describing efforts made to incorporate the concerns of all Council members in developing the draft.  The conditions on the ground had been monitored closely in that regard.  In light of the lack of evidence of Eritrean support to Al‑Shabaab, he called for that country to further cooperate with the Monitoring Group and the international community and to take advantage of the overtures offered to it.  He agreed, finally, that sanctions were not an end in themselves, but a means to ending destabilizing situations.

ABUKAR DAHIR OSMAN (Somalia), conveying his broad support for the resolution, welcomed steps taken to fully implement the charcoal trading ban.  Al‑Shabaab remained Somalia’s most pressing threat and security sector reform and a robust disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme remained the Government’s main priority.  Reform would only be achieved, however, through greater international assistance to Somalia’s security sector, including a strengthening of the Somali National Army and a more robust AMISOM force.

He emphasized that the resolution did not specifically spotlight the impact of the Gulf crisis on Somalia, be it from a political disintegration perspective or otherwise.  He also said he had hoped that the text be more explicit in the need to respect the country’s political independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity.  Furthermore, he said he wished that the Council had adopted recommendations to curb the use of chemicals used to manufacture improvised explosive devices, particularly in light of the 14 October bomb attack in which 330 people were killed.  In addition, the arms embargo framework — in effect, with modifications, for more than 20 years — must be closely aligned with Somalia’s national security architecture.  The Monitoring Group had provided the Council with recommendations in that regard, but they continued to be ignored, he said.

He acknowledged that his Government must do more to fully comply with the partial lift requirements, including improvements to weapons management and command and control systems.  Over the next year, it would work on enhancing compliance.  In that regard, he asked the Council to consider developing clearly defined benchmarks leading to the full lifting of the arms embargo, as well as updating the arms embargo framework to reflect Somalia’s national security architecture.  He went on to express great concern that the Government of Eritrea had not accounted for 13 remaining Djiboutian prisoners of war held incommunicado in Eritrean prisons.  He urged Eritrea to release them immediately, comply with Council resolutions and negotiate in good faith to resolve the border dispute with Djibouti.

OSMAN SALEH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Eritrea, said that the Council had missed another opportunity to rectify its transgression against the people of Eritrea.  For five years, the Monitoring Group had asserted that there was no evidence of Eritrean support to Al‑Shabaab in Somalia.  As for Djibouti, he said it was unprecedented for the Council to sanction one party, especially when the dispute was under a mutually agreed mediation.  The skewed manner in which the Council had been handling the dispute continued to breed a sense of “no obligation on the Government of Djibouti and to pursue a policy of provocation aimed at stirring tension, when, in fact, the border between the two countries remains calm,” he stated.  Moreover, the Council had chosen to remain silent on Ethiopia’s occupation of Eritrean territories for 15 years.

He said that Eritrea had done no wrong.  It had not violated Council resolutions.  Yet, the sanctions were being kept with the mere purpose of targeting Eritrea.  The emphasis by some Council members about alleged support to armed groups was an unacceptable double standard.  The Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region remained volatile and fragile.  It was critical to examine whether the sanctions against Eritrea were abating conflicts or fuelling them.  He concluded that the sanctions had worsened the situation by rewarding an aggressor.  He called on the Council to redress the wrong in the interests of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and the subregion.

MOHAMED SIAD DOUALEH (Djibouti) said Al‑Shabaab continued to pose a serious threat to the peace and stability of the region.  He expressed serious concern that for five mandates in a row, the Monitoring Group had not been permitted to visit Eritrea.  It was obvious that if the monitoring missions were prevented by Eritrea from carrying out their mandate, they could not draw any conclusion about that country’s behaviour.  Furthermore, almost ten years ago, Eritrea had moved into his country’s territory.  It had occupied Ras Doumeira and Doumeira Island, had taken prisoners of war, and had refused to provide a list of names of all the prisoners.  Eritrea had recruited and armed groups to destabilize the region and incite violence and civil strife in Djibouti.  The Monitoring Group’s report offered compelling evidence of Eritrea’s attempt to exacerbate the conflict by fomenting armed rebellion against the Government of Djibouti.

He went on to say that, following the end of Qatar’s mediation efforts, Eritrea had moved its military personnel to the occupied areas.  Now that the unresolved border dispute was no longer subject to third party mediation, the Council must urge both countries to accept the peaceful settlement of the border dispute in conformity with Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations.  Djibouti would agree to submit the dispute for final and binding determination under the International Court of Justice or an international arbitral tribunal.  He also said that 13 remaining prisoners of war were unaccounted for.  Eritrea’s self‑serving claims to have released all prisoners of war had no credibility.  By renewing the sanctions, the Council had sent a clear political signal that Eritrea had only itself to blame.  The resolution, however, offered Eritrea a reasonable pathway, noting that Eritrea was legally obligated to comply with Council resolutions.

Resolution

The Security Council,

Recalling all its previous resolutions and statements of its President on the situation in Somalia and Eritrea, in particular resolutions 733 (1992), 1844 (2008), 1907 (2009), 2036 (2012), 2023 (2011), 2093 (2013), 2111 (2013), 2124 (2013), 2125 (2013), 2142 (2014), 2182 (2014), 2244 (2015) and 2317 (2016),

Taking note of the final reports of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (the SEMG) on Somalia (S/2017/924) and Eritrea (S/2017/925) and their conclusions on the situations in both Somalia and Eritrea,

Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea respectively, and underscoring the importance of working to prevent destabilising effects of regional crises and disputes from spilling over into Somalia,

Condemning any flows of weapons and ammunition supplies to and through Somalia in violation of the arms embargo on Somalia, including when they undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia, and to Eritrea in violation of the arms embargo on Eritrea, as a serious threat to peace and stability in the region,

Expressing concern that Al-Shabaab continues to pose a serious threat to the peace and stability of Somalia and the region, and expressing concern at the emergence of, and growing threat of, affiliates of ISIL (also known as Da’esh),

Reaffirming the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law, including applicable international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts,

Welcoming the further improved relationship between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Federal Member States (FMS), and the SEMG, and underlining the importance of these relationships improving further and strengthening in the future,

Welcoming the FGS and FMS’s political agreement reached on 16 April 2017 on a National Security Architecture to integrate regional and federal forces, the Security Pact, agreed at the London Conference and looking forward to the Security Conference to be held in Mogadishu in December 2017,

Welcoming the efforts of the FGS to improve its notifications to the Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea (“the Committee”), urging further progress in the future, particularly in relation to post-delivery notifications, and recalling that improved arms and ammunition management in Somalia is a fundamental component of greater peace and stability for the region,

Taking note of the efforts of the FGS to restore key economic and financial institutions, increase domestic revenue and implement financial governance and structural reforms; welcoming the passing of a landmark telecommunications bill together with progress on the anti-corruption bill; and highlighting the importance of continual progress in these areas,

Underlining the importance of financial propriety in contributing to stability and prosperity and stressing the need for a zero tolerance approach to corruption to promote transparency and increase mutual accountability in Somalia,

Expressing serious concern at reports of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in waters where Somalia has jurisdiction, underlining the importance of refraining from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, welcoming further reporting on the matter, and encouraging the FGS, with the support of the international community, to ensure that fishing licenses are issued in a responsible manner and in line with the appropriate Somali legal framework,

Expressing serious concern at the ongoing difficulties in delivering humanitarian aid in Somalia, and condemning in the strongest terms any party obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance, as well as the misappropriation or diversion of any humanitarian funds or supplies,

Recalling that the FGS has the primary responsibility to protect its population, and recognizing the FGS’ responsibility, working with the FMS to build the capacity of its own national security forces, as a matter of priority,

Taking note of the three meetings between the representative of the Government of Eritrea and the SEMG, expressing concern that the SEMG has not been able to visit Eritrea since 2011 and fully discharge its mandate, and underlining that deepened cooperation will help the Security Council fully assess Eritrea’s compliance with the relevant Security Council resolutions,

Expressing concern over reports by the SEMG of ongoing Eritrean support for certain regional armed groups, and encouraging the SEMG to provide further detailed reporting and evidence on support for armed groups in the region,

Welcoming the release of four prisoners of war by Eritrea in March 2016, expressing concern at ongoing reports of Djiboutian combatants missing in action since the clashes in 2008, calling on Eritrea and Djibouti to continue to engage in resolving the issues of combatants, and urging Eritrea to share any further available detailed information pertaining to the combatants, including to the SEMG,

Welcoming the restraint shown by both Eritrea and Djibouti with regard to the situation on their shared border following the withdrawal of Qatari forces, recalling the African Union’s deployment of a fact finding mission to the Djibouti border following the withdrawal of Qatari forces, noting that the fact-finding mission visited Djibouti and is yet to visit Asmara, and welcoming the call by the Assembly of the African Union in July 2017 to encourage the Chairperson of the Commission, with the necessary support of the two countries, to pursue efforts towards normalization of relations and good neighbourhood between Djibouti and Eritrea,

Underlining the importance it attaches to all Member States complying with the terms of the arms embargo imposed on Eritrea by resolution 1907 (2009),

Determining that the situation in Somalia, as well as the dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea, continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

Arms embargo

“1.   Reaffirms the arms embargo on Somalia, imposed by paragraph 5 of resolution 733 (1992) and further elaborated upon in paragraphs 1 and 2 of resolution 1425 (2002) and modified by paragraphs 33 to 38 of resolution 2093 (2013) and paragraphs 4 to 17 of resolution 2111 (2013), paragraph 14 of resolution 2125 (2013), paragraph 2 of resolution 2142 (2014), and paragraph 2 of resolution 2244 (2015), and paragraph 2 of resolution 2317 (2016) (hereafter referred to as “the arms embargo on Somalia”);

“2.   Decides to renew the provisions set out in paragraph 2 of resolution 2142 (2014) until 15 November 2018, and in that context reiterates that the arms embargo on Somalia shall not apply to deliveries of weapons, ammunition or military equipment or the provision of advice, assistance or training, intended solely for the development of the Somali National Security Forces, to provide security for the Somali people, except in relation to deliveries of the items set out in the annex of resolution 2111 (2013);

“3.   Reaffirms that the entry into Somali ports for temporary visits of vessels carrying arms and related materiel for defensive purposes does not amount to a delivery of such items in violation of the arms embargo on Somalia, provided that such items remain at all times aboard such vessels;

“4.   Reiterates that weapons or military equipment sold or supplied solely for the development of the Somali National Security Forces may not be resold to, transferred to, or made available for use by, any individual or entity not in the service of the Somali National Security Forces, and underlines the responsibility of the FGS to ensure the safe and effective management, storage and security of their stockpiles;

“5.   Welcomes in this regard the initial improvements by the FGS, of a more rigorous weapons registration, recording and marking procedure, expresses concern at reports of continued weapons diversion from within the FGS and FMS, encourages further improvements, notes that further improved weapons management is vital in order to prevent the diversion of weapons, and reiterates that the Security Council is committed to monitoring and assessing improvements in order to review the arms embargo when all conditions as set out in Security Council resolutions are met;

“6.   Welcomes the efforts of the FGS to develop detailed Standard Operating Procedures for weapons and ammunition management including an issue and receipt system to track all weapons post distribution, and urges the FGS to finalize and implement these procedures as soon as possible;

“7.   Further welcomes the efforts of the FGS in establishing the Joint Verification Team (JVT) and urges Member States to support improved weapons and ammunition management to improve the capacity of the FGS to manage weapons and ammunition;

“8.   Welcomes the improvement in FGS reporting to the Security Council pursuant to paragraph 9 of resolution 2182 (2014) and as requested in paragraph 7 of resolution 2244 (2015), calls on the FGS and FMS to implement the National Security Architecture, and the Security Pact, agreed at the London Conference on Somalia which set out to provide Somali-led security and protection to the people of Somalia, and requests the FGS to report to the Security Council in accordance with paragraph 9 of resolution 2182 (2014) and as requested in paragraph 7 of resolution 2244 (2015) on the structure, composition, strength and disposition of its Security Forces, including the status of regional and militia forces by 30 March 2018 and then by 30 September 2018;

“9.   Recalls that the FGS has the primary responsibility to notify the Committee, pursuant to paragraphs 3 to 8 of resolution 2142 (2014), welcomes the efforts of the FGS in improving its notifications to the Committee;

“10.  Calls upon the FGS to improve the timeliness and content of notifications regarding the completion of deliveries, as set out in paragraph 6 of resolution 2142 (2014) and the destination unit upon distribution of imported arms and ammunition, as set out by paragraph 7 of resolution 2142 (2014);

“11.  Stresses Member States’ obligations pursuant to the notification procedures set out in paragraph 11 (a) of resolution 2111 (2013), underlines the need for Member States to strictly follow the notification procedures for providing assistance to develop Somali security sector institutions, and encourages Member States to consider the Implementation Assistance Notice of 14 March 2016 as a guide;

“12.  Recalls paragraph 2 of resolution 2142 (2014) and notes that support for the development of the Somali National Security Forces may include, inter alia, building infrastructure and provision of salaries and stipends solely provided to the Somali National Security Forces;

“13.  Urges increased cooperation by Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as set out in paragraph 6 of resolution 2182 (2014), to document and register all military equipment captured as part of offensive operations or in the course of carrying out their mandates, involving other Somali National Security Forces as appropriate;

“14.  Calls upon the FGS and FMS to enhance civilian oversight of its Security Forces, to adopt and implement appropriate vetting procedures of all defence and security personnel, including human rights vetting, in particular through investigation and prosecuting individuals responsible for violations of international law, including international humanitarian law, and in this context recalls the importance of the Secretary-General’s Human Rights and Due Diligence Policy in relation to the support provided by the United Nations to the Somali National Army;

“15.  Requests the SEMG to continue its investigations related to the export to Somalia of chemicals that may be used as oxidisers in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, such as the precursors ammonium nitrate, potassium chlorate, potassium nitrate and sodium chlorate with a view to considering further action, and calls on Members States and the FGS to cooperate with the SEMG in this regard;

“16.  Underlines the importance of timely and predictable payment of salaries to the Somali security forces and calls on the FGS to implement systems to improve the timeliness and accountability of payments and supply of provisions to the Somali security forces;

“17.  Recalls the need to build the capacities of the Somali National Security Forces, in particular the provision of equipment, training and mentoring, in order to develop credible, professional and representative security forces to enable the gradual handing over of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali security forces, and encourages further donor support and coordination as set out in the Security Pact;

“18.  Recalls OP16 and OP17 of resolution 1907 (2009) and recognises that during the course of its current and three previous mandates the SEMG has not found conclusive evidence that Eritrea supports Al-Shabaab;

“19.  Further reaffirms the arms embargo on Eritrea imposed by paragraphs 5 and 6 of resolution 1907 (2009) (hereafter referred to as ‘the arms embargo on Eritrea’);

Threats to peace and security

“20.  Expresses concern at the continued reports of corruption and diversion of public resources which pose a risk to State-building efforts, expresses serious concern at reports of financial impropriety involving members of the FGS, FMS and Federal Parliament, which pose a risk to State-building efforts, and in this context underlines that individuals engaged in acts which threaten the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia may be listed for targeted measures;

“21.  Welcomes the efforts which the FGS has made in order to improve its financial management procedures including continued engagement between the FGS and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), encourages the FGS and FMS to maintain the pace of reform and continue the implementation of IMF-recommended reforms to support the continuation of a Staff Monitored Programme and increased transparency, accountability, comprehensiveness and predictability in revenue collection and budget allocations, and expresses concern at the generation and distribution of counterfeit Somali currency;

“22.  Recognises that addressing outstanding constitutional issues around power and resource sharing between the FGS and FMS is crucial for Somalia’s stability, emphasises the importance of Somali leadership to address these issues in an inclusive manner, with the FGS and the FMS working constructively together, and encourages the FGS and FMS to implement the outstanding elements of the National Security Architecture agreement, including decisions around the make-up, distribution and command and control of the security forces and resource-sharing;

“23.  Reaffirms Somalia’s sovereignty over its natural resources;

“24.  Reiterates its serious concern that the petroleum sector in Somalia could be a driver for increased conflict, and in that context underlines the vital importance of the FGS putting in place, without undue delay, resource-sharing arrangements and credible legal framework to ensure that the petroleum sector in Somalia does not become a source of increased tension;

“25.  Expresses serious concern at Al-Shabaab’s increasing reliance on revenue from natural resources including the taxing of illicit sugar trade, agricultural production, and livestock and further expresses its concern at the group’s involvement in the illicit charcoal trade, and looks forward to further SEMG reporting on this issue;

Charcoal ban

“26.  Reaffirms the ban on the import and export of Somali charcoal, as set out in paragraph 22 of resolution 2036 (2012) (“the charcoal ban”), welcomes efforts of Member States to prevent the import of charcoal of Somali origin, reiterates that the FGS and FMS shall take the necessary measures to prevent the export of charcoal from Somalia, and urges Member States to continue their efforts to ensure full implementation of the ban;

“27.  Reiterates its requests in paragraph 18 of resolution 2111 (2013), that AMISOM support and assist the FGS and FMS in implementing the total ban on the export of charcoal from Somalia and calls upon AMISOM to facilitate regular access for the SEMG to charcoal exporting ports;

“28.  Welcomes the efforts of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in their efforts to disrupt the export and import of charcoal to and from Somalia, and further welcomes the cooperation between the SEMG and CMF in keeping the Committee informed on the charcoal trade;

“29.  Expresses concern that the charcoal trade provides significant funding for Al-Shabaab, and in that context reiterates paragraphs 11 to 21 of resolution 2182 (2014), and further decides to renew the provisions set out in paragraph 15 of resolution 2182 (2014) until 15 November 2018;

“30.  Condemns the ongoing export of charcoal from Somalia, in violation of the total ban on the export of charcoal, calls on Members States to share information with the SEMG, requests the SEMG to focus on this in their next report, and propose further measures, taking account of human rights concerns, and expresses its intention to consider further measures if violations continue;

“31.  Encourages the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to continue its work, with the FGS, within its current mandate, under the Indian Ocean Forum on Maritime Crime to bring together relevant Member States and international organizations to develop strategies to disrupt the trade in Somali charcoal;

Humanitarian access

“32.  Expresses serious concern at the acute humanitarian situation in Somalia and the risk of famine, welcomes efforts by the United Nations, the international community and the FGS to avert famine, condemns in the strongest terms increased attacks against humanitarian actors and any misuse of donor assistance and the obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian aid, reiterates its demand that all parties allow and facilitate full, safe and unhindered access for the timely delivery of aid to persons in need across Somalia and encourages the FGS to improve the regulatory environment for aid donors;

“33.  Decides that until 15 November 2018 and without prejudice to humanitarian assistance programmes conducted elsewhere, the measures imposed by paragraph 3 of resolution 1844 (2008) shall not apply to the payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources necessary to ensure the timely delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Somalia, by the United Nations, its specialized agencies or programmes, humanitarian organizations having observer status with the United Nations General Assembly that provide humanitarian assistance, and their implementing partners including bilaterally or multilaterally funded non-governmental organizations participating in the United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia;

“34.  Requests the Emergency Relief Coordinator to report to the Security Council by 15 October 2018 on the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia and on any impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia, and requests relevant United Nations agencies and humanitarian organizations having observer status with the United Nations General Assembly and their implementing partners that provide humanitarian assistance in Somalia to increase their cooperation and willingness to share information with the United Nations;

Eritrea

“35.  Welcomes the SEMG’s ongoing and significant efforts to engage with the Government of Eritrea, in that context recalls the three meetings between the Representative of the Government of Eritrea and the SEMG, reiterates its expectation that the Government of Eritrea will facilitate the entry of the SEMG to Eritrea, to discharge fully its mandate, in line with its repeated requests, including in paragraph 52 of resolution 2182 (2014);

“36.  Welcomes recent efforts by the Government of Eritrea to engage with the international community, underlines that deepened cooperation will help the Security Council be better informed about Eritrea’s compliance with the relevant Security Council resolutions and enable a review of measures on Eritrea;

“37.  Urges the Government of Eritrea to facilitate visits by the SEMG to Eritrea, acknowledges the willingness as expressed by the Government of Eritrea to facilitate a visit by the Chair and urges the Government to agree a date as soon as possible;

“38.  Calls on Eritrea to cooperate fully with the SEMG, in accordance with the SEMG’s mandate contained in paragraph 13 of resolution 2060 (2012) and updated in paragraph 41 of resolution 2093 (2013);

“39.  Urges Eritrea and Djibouti to engage on the issue of the Djiboutian combatants missing in action and urges Eritrea to make available any further detailed information including to the SEMG;

“40.  Urges the two parties to continue to maintain an atmosphere of calm and restraint and calls on them to seek all available solutions to settle their border dispute peacefully in a manner consistent with international law;

“41.  Expresses its intention to keep under regular review measures on Eritrea, in light of the upcoming midterm update by the SEMG due by 30 April 2018, taking into account relevant Security Council resolutions, and paragraphs 35 to 40 above;

Somalia

“42.  Recalls resolution 1844 (2008) which imposed targeted sanctions and resolutions 2002 (2011) and 2093 (2013) which expanded the listing criteria, and notes one of the listing criteria under resolution 1844 (2008) is engaging in or providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia;

“43.  Reiterates its willingness to adopt targeted measures against individuals and entities on the basis of the above-mentioned criteria;

“44.  Recalls paragraph 2 (c) of resolution 2060 (2012) and emphasises that certain misappropriation of financial resources is a criterion for designation and applies to misappropriation at all levels;

“45.  Reiterates its request for Member States to assist the SEMG in their investigations, reiterates that obstructing the investigations or work of the SEMG is a criterion for listing under paragraph 15 (e) of resolution 1907 (2009) and further requests the FGS, FMS and AMISOM to share information with the SEMG regarding Al-Shabaab activities;

“46.  Decides to extend until 15 December 2018 the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea SEMG as set out in paragraph 13 of resolution 2060 (2012) and updated in paragraph 41 of resolution 2093 (2013), and expresses its intention to review the mandate and take appropriate action regarding the further extension no later than 15 November 2018;

“47.  Requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary administrative measures as expeditiously as possible to re-establish the SEMG, in consultation with the Committee, until 15 December 2018, drawing, as appropriate, on the expertise of the members of the SEMG established pursuant to previous resolutions, and further requests that administrative support to the SEMG be adjusted, within existing resources, to facilitate the delivery of their mandate;

“48.  Requests the SEMG to provide monthly updates to the Committee, and a comprehensive midterm update, as well as to submit, for the Security Council’s consideration, through the Committee, two final reports; one focusing on Somalia, the other on Eritrea by 15 October 2018, covering all the tasks set out in paragraph 13 of resolution 2060 (2012) and updated in paragraph 41 of resolution 2093 (2013) and paragraph 15 of resolution 2182 (2014);

“49.  Requests the Committee, in accordance with its mandate and in consultation with the SEMG and other relevant United Nations entities to consider the recommendations contained in the reports of the SEMG and recommend to the Security Council ways to improve the implementation of and compliance with the Somalia and Eritrea arms embargoes, the measures regarding the import and export of charcoal from Somalia, as well as implementation of the measures imposed by paragraphs 1, 3 and 7 of resolutions 1844 (2008) and paragraphs 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 13 of resolution 1907 (2009) in response to continuing violations;

“50.  Requests the Committee to consider, where and when appropriate, visits to selected countries by the Chair and/or Committee members to enhance the full and effective implementation of the measures above, with a view to encouraging States to comply fully with this resolution;

“51.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Al-Shabaab Biggest Threat to Peace in Somalia, Sanctions Committee Chair Tells Security Council, as Delegates Air Differences over Sanctions

Eritrea’s Representative Says Embargo Unjustified, Denies Links to Terrorist Group

In light of the threat posed by Al-Shabaab, drought and the ongoing humanitarian crisis, the Security Council Committee on sanctions in Eritrea and Somalia announced a possible future visit to the Horn of Africa today, as members expressed diverging views on arms embargoes imposed on those countries.

The region clearly demanded a peacekeeping presence, said Kairat Umarov (Kazakhstan), Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea.  Outlining that panel’s efforts over the last four months, he said the Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group had found no links between Al-Shabaab and Eritrea.  It had also investigated the origin and destination of a cache of 25,000 firearms in Somalia.

Chief among the Group’s concerns were illegal fishing, Al-Shabaab’s involvement in the charcoal trade and the disappearance of troops following border clashes between Djibouti and Eritrea, he said.  Going forward, Somalia must ensure access to all areas for the delivery of aid, he said, describing Al-Shabaab as the biggest threat to peace.

In the ensuing debate, speakers highlighted a range of concerns, from the humanitarian crisis and armed terrorist groups to reported pirate attacks.  Many agreed that assistance was needed to build on recent gains, including Somalia’s successful elections.

Some speakers emphasized the priority of fighting terrorist groups, especially Al-Shabaab and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), with France’s representative urging the Somali authorities to swiftly develop the security architecture necessary for the police and armed forces to take over from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Several speakers called for modifying existing sanctions.  The Russian Federation’s representative proposed loosening the arms embargo to allow Somalia’s armed forces to receive the materials they needed.  The sanctions regime was not a dogma, he said, emphasizing that it must be revised to reflect changing situations.  Others credited sanctions with having helped to prevent terrorist groups from arming themselves.  The representative of the United States stressed the importance of a Monitoring Group visit to Eritrea, noting that without that Government’s engagement, the Council could otherwise not make informed decisions on sanctions.

Some Council members voiced support for the proposed visit.  Ethiopia’s representative emphasized that any visit must remain free of preconceived assumptions, allowing the Committee to observe first-hand the boundary demarcation between Eritrea and Ethiopia, among other pressing concerns, including Eritrea’s compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions.  The United Kingdom’s delegate said that country’s refusal to cooperate with the Monitoring Group left no other way to verify whether or not it supported Al-Shabaab and other armed groups.

Eritrea’s representative called on the Council to ensure Ethiopia’s immediate, unconditional withdrawal from sovereign Eritrean territory.  It was also time to lift the sanctions, he said, describing the measures as unjustified.  Maintaining them could only be viewed as a desire to spread crises in an already conflict-ridden region, he added.  Pointing out that Eritrea had been cleared of wrongdoing in Somalia, had no links to Al-Shabaab and was committed to Qatar-sponsored mediation efforts to release all Djibouti prisoners of war, he said the Monitoring Group had visited Eritrea twice before and there would be no value in another trip.

Djibouti’s representative said he was deeply saddened that Eritrea had chosen to obstruct the Monitoring Group, denying it all access to the information needed to determine its compliance or otherwise with Council resolutions.  Warning that Eritrea continued to provide support to Al-Shabaab, he urged that country to clarify the situation of 13 Djibouti prisoners of war who remained unaccounted for, and to comply with the 2010 Qatar Mediation Agreement on the border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea.

Also speaking today were representatives of Senegal, Egypt, China, Sweden, Ukraine, Japan, Uruguay, Italy and Bolivia.

The meeting began at 10:57 a.m. and ended at 12:28 p.m.

Briefing

KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan), Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea, provided an overview of recent developments.  The Committee had received notifications related to the arms embargo on Somalia and was working on the issues of sanctions violations and actions of armed groups.

He said the monitoring group had reported a number of concerns, noting that Al-Shabaab remained the most pressing threat in Somalia.  In addition, the discovery of about 25,000 guns aboard a vessel had led to an ongoing investigation into the origin and destination of those weapons.  Expressing concern about security issues, he went on to urge Somalia to ensure aid delivery.  Other concerns included illegal fishing and the involvement of Al-Shabaab in the charcoal trade.

Turning to Eritrea, he said no links had been found in tracking support for armed groups, including Al-Shabaab.  The monitoring group had raised concerns about troop disappearances after the Djibouti-Eritrea border clashes and had examined Eritrea’s compliance with relevant Council resolutions, he said, noting the issuance of a report on those matters.

Given the current situation, he said the region demanded a peacekeeping presence and that discussions were ongoing for a possible visit of the Committee to the Horn of Africa.

Statements

MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom), emphasizing that Al-Shabaab remained “a vicious threat,” said armed groups could not be defeated by military means alone.  The political process would lay a foundation for peace and security.  The sanctions regime had supported the Government’s fight against Al-Shabaab, alongside AMISOM troops.  Turning to Eritrea, he urged its Government to comply with its international obligations, including Council resolutions.  Its refusal to cooperate with the Monitoring Group meant that there was no way to verify whether it was supporting Al-Shabaab and other armed groups.  He encouraged Eritrea to take the opportunity for engagement being offered by the Council.

ALEXIS LAMEK (France) said the fight against terrorist groups in Somalia, including Al-Shabaab and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), remained a priority.  Somali authorities must swiftly develop a security architecture so that the police and armed forces could take over from AMISOM.  Operations by Somali and international forces must be pursued in full respect for human rights, he said, stressing that drought threatened millions of people and called for a sustained humanitarian response.  Welcoming Eritrea’s apparent lack of support for Al-Shabaab, he said it was important for that country to deepen its cooperation with the Council and invite the Panel of Experts to Asmara.  Welcoming Eritrea’s release of four Djibouti prisoners of war, he urged that light be shed on other cases.

FODÉ SECK (Senegal) expressed concern over the growing threat of ISIL in the region, as illustrated by an operation in February on a hotel by a small faction that had declared allegiance to that group.  He noted the Monitoring Group’s concern at the threat posed by illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and condemned the diversion of humanitarian assistance.  Regarding the charcoal ban, he said that while Al-Shabaab might no longer be involved in its trade, that group continued to levy taxes on its production and export.  He went on to invite Eritrea to cooperate to a greater extent with the Monitoring Group, creating conditions conducive to the lifting of sanctions.

PETR V. ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) raised a number of concerns, including increasing numbers of pirate attacks and the safety of the Somali people in the face of Al-Shabaab violence and the threat of famine.  Successful elections had triggered progress in many sectors.  To build on that, he underlined the importance of strengthening the arms and charcoal embargo, and extending assistance to African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).  He approved of loosening the embargo to allow national armed forces to receive needed materials, stressing that a sanctions regime was not a dogma, but rather must be periodically revised to reflect changing situations.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said terrorist groups continued to be a major obstacle on the road to peace and rebuilding of State institutions in Somalia.  The embargo’s strict implementation must continue and the Monitoring Group must examine any breaches.  Turning to the sanctions on Eritrea, he commended the Monitoring Group’s findings that the Government had no links to Al-Shabaab.  Periodic review of the sanctions was important to ensure they reflected the situation on the ground.  Moving forward, he urged more cooperation between Eritrea and the Monitoring Group.  Concerning the missing personnel from Djibouti, he called for answers.  Regarding the Monitoring Group, he said Africans must be appropriately represented.

WU HAITAO (China) said neighbouring countries had an interest in maintaining peace in order to promote regional development, urging them to use dialogue to improve developments on the ground.  The monitoring group should play a constructive role in peace and security in Africa, he said, recalling that China had provided assistance to AMISOM and the countries in the Horn of Africa.

OLOF SKOOG (Sweden), emphasizing that strengthening Somalia’s national security must be a top priority for the new President and Government, said Al-Shabaab remained the most significant security threat.  Sustained engagement by the Council and the Monitoring Group would be needed in tackling it.  Expressing concern about the severe humanitarian situation caused by the drought in Somalia and the region, he said safe and unhindered access was needed to provide relief.  Noting reports of a possible breach of the arms embargo, he urged that the incident be thoroughly investigated and that vigilance be exercised regarding any possible exploitation of natural resources by Al-Shabaab.  Eritrea must cooperate with the Monitoring Group in order to verify its encouraging findings that no Al-Shabaab presence existed in that country, he stressed, expressing support for the proposal of a visit to Asmara by the Monitoring Group Chair.

EDUARD FESKO (Ukraine) said Al-Shabaab stood in the way of a humanitarian response to the drought in Somalia.  He expressed support for cooperation between the Somali National Army and AMISOM, and commended Kenyan forces for their recent successful operations.  Further joint efforts to ensure implementation and enforcement of the arms embargo and charcoal ban would deprive terrorist groups of revenue and weapons.  He asked for detailed information on unregulated and illegal fishing to be included in the next report to the Council.  Regarding Eritrea, he said cooperation by that Government would allow the Monitoring Group to implement its mandate.

YASUHISA KAWAMURA (Japan) said that with Al-Shabaab a threat in Somalia, sanctions were an effective measure.  Japan looked forward to the Somali National Army taking over responsibility for security, he said, noting that the London conference in May would be an opportunity to build political will.  Japan had extended $30 million in emergency and humanitarian assistance to address the drought.  Vessel hijackings highlighted the need for continued international anti-piracy activities, he said, urging that more support be provided to Somalia to address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.  Turning to Eritrea, he called for progress on the case of combatants missing in action following the border incident with Djibouti.

ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay) said it was urgent to bolster Somalia’s security in order to combat Al-Shabaab.  The international community must also boost efforts to provide assistance for security and the provision of services to citizens.  The Monitoring Group should “leave no stone unturned” in its work concerning the illegal arms trade and other areas.  In the face of a severe drought, Somalia must ensure aid delivery to all areas.  The humanitarian crisis must be addressed, as should sexual violence, female genital mutilation and child marriage, he said, urging the Government to investigate and act on those issues.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said although Al-Shabaab’s capacities had been weakened, it remained a potent force capable of launching attacks.  Close attention must be paid to developments.  The Monitoring Group’s work on sanctions was critical, he said, emphasizing Ethiopia’s commitment to cooperate on that matter.  Forging the necessary horizontal coordination with the Monitoring Group and other mechanisms was important.  Somalia had cooperated with the Group and must meet its obligations in accordance to relevant Security Council resolutions, including on investigations involving missing soldiers.  Any visit by the Council should remain free of preconceived assumptions, as it would allow the Committee to observe first-hand the boundary demarcation and other pressing concerns.

INIGO LAMBERTINI (Italy) noted that the Monitoring Group had stated that Somalia was cooperating fully in the implementation of the sanctions regime.  Further progress in managing arms and ammunition should be taken into account in considering future sanctions.  On Eritrea, he said Italy expected the Monitoring Group to be fair and impartial, encouraging that country to cooperate with the Council so that it could take decisions on the basis of established facts.

LUIS MAURICIO ARANCIBIA FERNÁNDEZ (Bolivia) said the long-standing sanctions regime targeting Somalia and Eritrea had been amended over time, but with no notable progress.  It was time to consider its effectiveness, bearing in mind that sanctions were not an end in themselves.  Expressing alarm at Al-Shabaab’s presence, he urged Somalia, AMISOM and other partners to protect humanitarian aid workers and ensure the charcoal ban was respected. 

MICHELE SISON (United States), regarding Somalia and the Al-Shabaab threat, said robust efforts must continue to avoid backsliding on recent gains.  She expressed support for sanctions as part of a comprehensive United Nations strategy to deter violence and corruption.  On the arms embargo, she urged Somalia and Member States to comply with existing measures and advise promptly when using exemptions.  She inquired about plans by one Member State to build a naval base in the region, adding that the United States would welcome any Monitoring Group reporting on an uptick in piracy and the nexus between unregulated fishing and piracy.  Turning to Eritrea, she emphasized the importance of a Monitoring Group visit, noting that without that Government’s engagement, the Council could not make an informed decision on sanctions.

MOHAMED SIAD DOUALEH (Djibouti), agreeing that Al-Shabaab continued to pose a serious threat to Somalia’s peace and security, expressed support for the call by the Head of AMISOM for a troop surge in order to tackle that group.  Likewise, he echoed the Secretary-General’s call to provide enhanced logistical support for under-equipped African Union forces in Somalia, in particular force enablers and multipliers, including helicopters.  Saying he was “deeply saddened” that Eritrea had chosen to obstruct the Monitoring Group, denying them all access to information needed to determine whether Eritrea was in compliance with the Council’s resolutions, he stressed that the country had formulated a “victimhood narrative” and cynically sought to be rewarded for its continued defiance of Council resolutions.

Warning that Eritrea continued to provide support to Al-Shabaab, he went on to say the country should be urged to clarify the situation of the 13 remaining Djibouti prisoners of war still unaccounted for, and must comply with the provisions of the 2010 Qatar Mediation Agreement on the border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea.  The latter continued to harbour, train, equip and provide logistical support to armed groups seeking to overthrow and destabilize the Government of Djibouti, in violation of Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations, he added.

AMANUEL GIORGIO (Eritrea) said the Council’s briefing was taking place exactly 15 years from the date the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission had given its final, binding ruling.  Yet Ethiopia continued to occupy sovereign Eritrean territory, including the town of Badme, in violation of its treaty obligations and international law, dashing hopes for peace and security.  The Council continued to avoid the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict.  It could not continue its 15 years of inaction in the face of destabilizing acts of occupation and aggression in the region.  “This is not only morally and legally unacceptable but is it increasingly evident that the simmering tension is untenable and fraught with perilous escalation,” he said, calling on the Council to ensure Ethiopia’s immediate, unconditional withdrawal from sovereign Eritrean territories. 

“Clearly, the time has come, in fact it is long overdue, to lift the sanctions on Eritrea,” he said.  They were unjustified and their continuation could only be viewed as a desire to spread crises in an already conflict-ridden region.  For four years the Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group had found no evidence of any Eritrean wrongdoing in Somalia.  On Djibouti, Eritrea was committed to Qatar-sponsored mediation efforts to release all Djibouti prisoners of war, he said, adding that “Eritrea has confirmed that there were no more Djiboutian prisoners in its hands.”  The Monitoring Group had visited Eritrea twice and ascertained the absence of Eritrea’s support for Al-Shabaab.  As such, “Eritrea does not see any real value in a visit by the Monitoring Group to the country,” he said, stressing that its real concern was the public stance of certain countries against the lifting of sanctions even if the Group was to visit Eritrea.

IGAD SSP and Djibouti to Action Research Recommendations for Improved Border Security and Management

Djibouti, 3-12-2015: The IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) held a Research Validation workshop with senior officials from different ministries and departments of the Government of Djibouti to review and analyze research findings and recommendations that was undertaken between September and December of 2014 on border security and management between Djibouti and Somaliland border given Djibouti’s unique geographical placement.

The IGAD region has 8400 borders around its Member States namely; Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda hence vulnerable to cross border conflicts and insecurity.

It is upon this background that IGAD SSP has commissioned a number of researches and field surveys to determine the effectiveness of the policies, laws, procedures and practices to effectively stop the movement of terrorists and other trans-border criminals across borders most notably; the Djibouti- Somaliland border that was undertaken between the months September and November 2014.

The workshop was presided over by Commander Abebe Muleneh, Director of IGAD SSP in the presence of Mr. Siraj Omar, Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior of the Government of Djibouti and Dr. Simon Nyambura, Head of Counter Terrorism Pillar IGAD SSP.

The participants discussed effective and enhanced border management practices, frameworks and mechanisms that can be applied to the 58 Kilometre border that lies between Somaliland and Djibouti in the areas of counter terrorism, insurgencies, piracy, human trafficking, money laundering and other forms of trans-national organized crimes.

Commander Abebe Muleneh, Director of IGAD SSP applauded the researchers and called upon the participants to hold the principles of solidarity, mutual trust and co-responsibility among member states and non member states of IGAD and respect human rights in their actions and procedures.

He also stated that border management seeks to control external access and threats to domestic territories and population which call for effective management that will be precise and legitimate leading to proper, safer, legal border and legal crossing and transactions.

According to Mr. Ali Mohamed Afkada, the Lead Researcher; the many issues leading to cross border conflicts and insecurity relate but not limited to skill, financial and institutional capacity, lack of resources, information sharing between security agencies, immigration and customs, technological challenges and adaptability, lack of proper border demarcations, long borders that are depopulated and remote, cross border terrorist activities and regroupings, lack of experienced, trained and informed staff at border points considering that many borders are in remote and semi arid areas.

He added that IGAD has studied and understood the issues and challenges that affect its Member States hence has continuously worked towards addressing them through creating and strengthening mutual and regional cooperation and activities between the parties to bring its mandate of regional integration to reality.

Among the many recommendations shared were; a) Promoting and strengthening border control agencies cooperation and coordination such as organizational and operational cooperation and cross border cooperation, b) Human and institutional capacity building on intelligence collection; analysis; and sharing, basic and advance integrated border management training, proper staffing and community engagement, c) Border control infrastructural development on communication, screening, surveillance, d) Harmonization of national  laws, strategies, policies and procedures, e) mutual drafting of policies and plans between member states, f) clear border demarcations through proper surveying, g) re-enforced security and capacity at border points as well as water and airports, h) improved information sharing between the concerned institutions, i) sensitization of the communities, j) advanced technological and mobility support.

The participants agreed that there is need for IGAD Member States to work towards turning the existing borders to bridges for better diplomatic relations, free and legal movement of people and goods for regional social and economic development hence less conflicts and insecurity.

Dr. Simon Nyambura who was the facilitator of the workshop concluded that with globalization border management and security at border points remains a challenge hence IGAD Member States of IGAD must continuously develop and maintain operational control of their borders and possibility of conducting and managing joint cross border operations.

Senior officials from various government institutions like the Immigration, Customs, Military, Police, Intelligence Academicians and Researchers also attended the Validation Workshop.

Venezuela president takes Guyana border dispute to UN chief

NNA – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has gone to New York to meet with UN chief Ban Ki-moon over his country’s escalating border dispute with Guyana, his foreign minister said late Monday.

Maduro will “defend the rights of Venezuela” and “defend the country from aggression by the new government of Guyana,” Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said.

A border dispute stretching back decades between the two south American neighbors has escalated in recent months, after Caracas made a new claim over coastal waters where Exxon Mobil recently announced an important oil find.

Caracas issued a decree May 27 laying claim to waters off the Essequibo, a disputed territory that borders Venezuela and encompasses more than half of Guyana.

The Venezuelan action came less than a month after Exxon Mobil said it had made a “significant” discovery in an offshore concession granted by Guyana.

Last week, Guyana’s President David Granger warned that Venezuela’s border claim was a threat to his small country’s survival.

“This is too much to bear for a country with fewer than a million people,” he said while visiting Washington.

Maduro has blamed American interests including the Exxon Mobil oil company for exacerbating the dispute. He recently recalled Venezuela’s ambassador to Guyana.

Guyana, a former British colony, maintains that the land boundary between it and Venezuela was settled in 1899 by a court of arbitration.

But Venezuela has never recognized the line, and the dispute has simmered ever since, extending in recent years to maritime rights off the disputed area–AFP.

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