Somalia

African countries urge Somalia to stem small arms proliferation

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NAIROBI, Jun 20, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) - African countries Monday called on the Somali interim government to stop proliferation of illicit small arms by establishing structures to deal decisively with the menace.

Kenya's Foreign Affairs Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere told a regional meeting in Nairobi that the war-torn Somalia which shares a porous border with Kenya would soon become an integral part of the sub-regional effort to combat the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons.

"Since they now have a government of their own, which is now making sure that their country is safe and will be developing, they would be of much help if they made sure that the weapons did not get into the hands of criminals," the minister said during the opening of the third Ministerial Review Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons in Nairobi.

Mwakwere noted individual states must ensure militias and rebels do not get access to the fire arms, saying economic and social growth on the continent has been affected by war and crime.

He called on nations to develop mechanism to ensure smuggling of the deadly weapons are prevented.

"Governments must tighten controls to stop the flows of illicit weapons. This means ensuring that embargoes are not broken, brokers are regulated, and that arms smuggling is prevented," the minister stressed.

The meeting which will end on Tuesday is attended by twelve foreign ministers from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania and Somalia.

They are reviewing the progress on the implementation of the Nairobi Declaration on the problem of proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

Somalia though not a signatory to the declaration, was invited as the 12th country.