The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday extended the mandate of the African Union peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for another four months, despite the African Union's request for a full year extension.
The Security Council said that the four months' extension would allow for a review of operations, including specific consideration of two issues: the request for a partial lifting of the arms embargo for the Somali Government and a call to permit the export of stocks of charcoal at Kismayo. The Security Council failed to reach a consensus on the AU's request to review the arms embargo to allow Somalia to rebuild its army and consolidate the military gains against al Shabaab, though a majority of the Council members reportedly acknowledged the African Union. A few members of the Council insisted that the issue of the charcoal needed further consideration, expressing concern that some charcoal merchants might still have connections with Al-Shabaab. Speaking to the Security Council, the Permanent Representative of the UK, Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, said the situation in Somalia was changing rapidly with the advent of "a more legitimate political leadership than ever before". However, he noted that the deadly car bomb which exploded on Wednesday near the country's parliament building in Mogadishu showed the situation remained perilous. He said the Security Council "must allow the new government the space to set policies and priorities".