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Arms embargo a major setback to security of the country-President Farmaajo

Storyline:National News, Security
President Mohamed Farmaajo addressing the media during a media conference with UN chief Antonnio Guterres in Mogadishu March 7, 2017. Photo: courtesy

The ongoing UN arms embargo remains a major impediment to Somalia’s efforts in dealing with insecurity and ensuring the stability of the country, President Mohamed Farmaajo has said.

President Farmaajo however said his government was determined to ensuring the national army is sufficiently equipped to deal with the security challenges facing the country. His remarks follows his government’s push for the lifting of the arms embargo during the May London Conference in which the government presented the National Security Architecture for donor funding.

Speaking during a visit to Agoon Military Training camp in Mogadishu Saturday, the president also noted his government was committed to providing all the necessary support to the military to enable it secure the country especially in the face of expected Amisom exit adding the lack of enough weapons was a result economic challenges and the existing UN arms embargo.

“..secondly is the lack of enough weapons. This second issue is a result of the hard economic challenges the government is facing and the arms embargo imposed upon on,” said Farmaajo.

Donors will be meeting next month to review the remaining issues in the National Security Architecture and subsequently make commitments for funding. The London Conference had asked the Somali government to iron out pending issues including comprehensive negotiations between the Federal Government and regional administration regarding the security architecture.

On the other hand, there is tacit fear western countries have against rearming Somalia fearing that the weapons falling into the wrong hands especially Al-Shabaab fighters.

The US Ambassador to Somalia Stephen Schwartz told Goobjoog News June the international community was still keen on ensuring a robust system of accountability before lifting the over 25 year embargo. “Lifting the arms embargo is a very good goal for Somalia and to do that Somalia is going to need to have very strong systems in place to account for the weapons it has. Those systems are not yet in place but we and others are working closely with Somali National Army and the Ministry of Defense to be able to put those in place. Right now the embargo is just a limited one.”

Humanitarian agencies have also in the past maintained the need for the embargo noting there were no sufficient instruments in place to ensure the weapons do not fall into the hands of criminal networks and terror groups subjecting the population to security threats.

UK Minister for Africa Rory Stewart said in an interview with Goobjoog News last month the embargo question still remained tricky. “This is a difficult question that we have to discuss. On the one hand of course Somalia and Somali nation needs to defend itself. On other hand we need to be very careful with Amisom.”

The UN imposed the embargo in 1992 following the collapse of the government a year before. It has however revised it in the subsequent years to allow limited import of weapons to support the national army.