Somalia: Security Council Renews Partial Lifting of Arms Embargo

The UN Security Council on Friday renewed for another year the partial lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia and added a ban on chemicals used for making improvised explosive devices.

The 15-member council voted 12-0 in favor of Resolution 2498 that enabled the decisions, with China, Russia, and Equatorial Guinea abstaining.

Until Nov. 15, 2020, the arms embargo on Somalia shall not apply to deliveries of weapons and military equipment "intended solely for the development of the Somali National Security Forces or Somalia security sector institutions," the resolution said.

However, deliveries of some heavy weapons require advance approval by the council's committee monitoring the embargo enforcement, and deliveries of some lighter weapons need prior notification to the committee.

The resolution reaffirmed the longstanding exception to the arms embargo for the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) in Somalia as well as humanitarian operations.

A new ban was imposed on certain chemicals used by militants, including al-Qaida-linked group al-Shabaab, to make improvised explosive devices, forbidding their sales to Somalia if evidence shows that they will be used for that purpose.

Deliveries of such chemicals "more generally" need prior notification to the monitoring committee.

The resolution also reaffirmed its decision regarding the ban on charcoal trades with Somali, a key source of funds for al-Shabaab.

In January 1992, the Security Council introduced an open-ended arms embargo on Somalia over the ongoing conflict and deteriorating humanitarian situation.

In February 2007, the council limited the embargo to non-state actors, allowing arms supplies to Somali government forces.

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