Security Council Extends Mandate of African Union Mission in Somalia for One Year, Partially Lifts Arms Embargo Originally Imposed in 1992 - resolution 2093 (2013)

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Security Council
6929th Meeting (AM)

Unanimously Adopts Resolution 2093 (2013); Sets Out Terms for Reconfiguration of UN Presence Following Assessment Mission

Responding to calls for a change in support to Somalia, in line with notable progress there, the Security Council today decided to maintain deployment of the African Union Mission until 28 February 2014, reshape the United Nations presence there, and partially lift its 20-year weapons ban for one year to boost the Government’s capacity to protect areas recovered from the militant group Al-Shabaab and stave off fresh attempts by such groups to destabilize the country.

In several parts, resolution 2093 (2013), adopted unanimously under Chapter VII, defines a new United Nations presence in Somalia, guided by the Secretary-General’s Strategic Review of the situation, and addresses itself to issues of human rights and civilian protection, and modifications to the arms embargo.

On the arms embargo, originally imposed in 1992, the Council decided that it would not apply to arms or equipment sold or supplied solely for the development of the Government’s security forces, but it kept its restrictions in place on heavy weapons, such as surface-to-air missiles.

In a related provision, the Government would be required to notify the Council’s sanctions committee at least five days in advance of any such deliveries and provide details of the transactions. Alternately, Member States delivering assistance may make the notification after informing the Government of its intentions in that regard. It stresses the importance that such notifications contain all relevant information, including the type and quantity of weapons and the proposed date of delivery.

As for the strategic review, the Council agreed with the Secretary-General that the United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) had fulfilled its mandate and should now be dissolved and replaced by a new expanded special political mission as soon as possible. UNPOS would be integrated within the framework of the new mission, which would operate alongside the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The Council asked the Secretary-General to conduct a Technical Assessment Mission on the implementation of the new United Nations presence, in full cooperation with the Somali Government, on the basis of a number of guiding principles set forth in the resolution.

At the same time, it agreed that the conditions were not yet appropriate in the country for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation, but requests that the matter be kept under review, including by setting benchmarks for when it might be appropriate to deploy

The text also lays out the specific tasks to be carried out by AMISOM, among them, to maintain a presence in the four sectors set out in the Mission’s Strategic Concept of 5 January 2012 and, in coordination with the Government’s Security Forces, reduce the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups; and to assist the Government in extending State authority in areas recovered from Al-Shabaab.

Among its other mandated functions, AMISOM would assist with implementation of the national security plans through training of the security forces; provide protection to the Federal Government to help it carry out its functions and ensure security for key infrastructure; improve security conditions for the provision of humanitarian assistance; and seek to develop further an effective approach to civilian protection, as well as strengthen child and women’s protection in its activities and operations, including through deployment of protection advisers.

In that connection, the text, in its Human Rights and Civilian Protection section, condemns all attacks against civilians in Somalia and calls for the immediate cessation of all acts of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, or abuses committed against civilians, including women and children. It strongly condemns reports of grave violations against children, urging the Somali Government, as a matter of priority, to implement the action plan signed on 6 August 2012 to eliminate the killing and maiming of children, and the 3 July 2012 action plan to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Speaking after the vote, Gert Rosenthal of Guatemala said he had voted in favour of the resolution given the importance of supporting the efforts undertaken by the Somali Government, the United Nations and AMISOM. “It was thanks to that collective effort that Somalia was now in a better place.” His delegation agreed with extending AMISOM’s mandate until 28 February 2014, in the belief that the resolution just adopted reflected an orderly process of integration and strengthening of the United Nations system’s presence in the country. Additionally, it recognized the important progress achieved in stabilizing and pacifying the country, or at least, parts of it, including its main urban centre.

However, he continued, the progress achieved did not justify the lifting of the arms embargo, as alluded to in paragraph 33 of the text. The Security Council, he said, should have adopted a “phased approach” to prevent any possible repercussions stemming from such an “abrupt suspension” of the ban, which could compromise the stabilization effort in the country.

In other words, he explained, his delegation supported the recommendations of the monitoring group of Somalia and Eritrea on the matter, which gave Somalia the capacity to develop its security sector without modifying the arms embargo. He trusted that, with the resolution’s adoption, the international community would redouble its commitment to accelerate progress towards security sector reform and support the establishment of the necessary safeguards in that connection, as well as move towards an operational system that guaranteed adequate arms control.

Maria Cristina Perceval of Argentina opened her remarks with expressions of sympathy for the Venezuelan people and family of former President Hugo Chavez.

She said her delegation supported today’s resolution as a “vote of confidence” for the Somali Government, given the improved security and progress made in implementing the road map, as well as electing a new parliament and president. She noted the “relative progress” achieved under the arms embargo and trusted that future weapons acquisition would not contravene the need for other resources to meet the challenges of the country’s complex situation. That included emergency humanitarian assistance.

She voiced her country’s hope that the control measures for the destination and use of arms were sufficient and that when the time came, within a year, to consider renewal of the partial lifting of the arms embargo, the Council would be in a position to say “we have done the right thing”.

The meeting began at 10:07 a.m. and adjourned at 10:16 a.m.