By Yonas Abiye,
The East African regional block, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), called on the United Nation’s Security Council (UNSC) to lift the arms embargo that was imposed on Somalia in January 1992.
At a briefing held on Friday at the office of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ambassadors of IGAD member states revealed that the block endorsed a resolution urging the international community to support the new Somalian government to ensure peace and security in the troubled nation.
Ethiopia’s new Foreign Minister, Ambassador Berhane Geberekirstos, lobbied members of the diplomatic community based in Addis Ababa, including both the permanent and non-permanent members of UNSC, to back IGAD’s resolution. He said that:
“IGAD welcomed the improvement of peace and security in Somalia and the urgent need to establish the national defense of the Federal Republic of Somalia, in this respect, and in recognition of the new legitimate leadership of Somalia, it urges the AU-PSC [African Union Peace and Security Council] to request the Security Council lift the arms embargo on Somalia,” said the Minister.
He added that the international community needed to capitalize on the opportunities created by the recent defeat of Al Shaabab and maintain peace and security in Somalia.
According to Berhane, sanctions have to be maintained on non-state actors intent on destabilizing Somalia in order to consolidate successes gained in Somalia.
He also underscored that mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) needs to be extended.
IGAD commended AMISOM for the key role it is playing in improving the security situation in Somalia and urges the AU-PSC to recommend to the UNSC the renewal of its mandate before the end of October 2012. It further calls upon AU member countries who pledged to contribute troops to AMISOM to honor their commitments.
In response to a question regarding what military role Ethiopia should play in Somalia Berhane said, “We still have an unreserved commitment for peace ans security in Somalia as long as we are requested by AMISOM. We have no reservations. However, Ethiopia has shouldered this matter for far too long. So we would appreciate if the international community shares this responsibility.”