UN Recounts Somalia Charcoal Disputes, Arms Filings, Eritrea Meeting

December: UN Monitoring Group will meet with Eritrean representatives in Paris
December: UN Monitoring Group to meet with Eritrean representatives in Paris

By Matthew Russell Lee,

In the run-up to the November 26 closed door briefing of the UN Security Council on Somalia and Eritrea sanctions, the new Monitoring Group coordinator Jarat Chopra raised to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and others the shipping and sale of charcoal from Somalia in violation of the sanctions.

The UAE and Oman did not immediate respond to inquiries about particular ships. The UAE prefers the re-sale of seized charcoal to its destruction under the supervision and advice of the UN Environment Program, despite concerns about corruption in re-sale that have been raised.

The Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group’s most recent public report “estimates… an overall international market value of US $360 – $384 million, with profits divided along the charcoal trade supply chain, including for Al-Shabaab.”  The SMEG puts the Al-Shabaab share at 40% – and says “the remaining 60% is divided between the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) (20%) and Ras Kamboni (40%).”

Sources informed Inner City Press that the SMEG had been ordered out of, or “Persona Non Grata-ed” from, Kenya.

Inner City Press exclusively spoke with senior representation of Kenya on this, and it was denied. Others say the UN’s Department of Political Affairs is trying to resolve the situation, particular in light of the Security Council’s rejection with eight abstentions of the African Union’s request that the Council suspend the Kenya proceedings of the International Criminal Court for a year.

In its last report the SMEG named an array of arms embargo violators in Somalia.

Now in its 120 day report to the Council, obtained by Inner City Press from multiple sources, it says “with regard to the arms embargo, the Committee considered three notifications for exemptions from the arms embargo pursuant to paragraph 11(a) of resolution 2111 (2013) [Australia, International Maritime Organization and Yemen] and received, for its information, four notifications pursuant to paragraph 10 (g) of the same resolution.”

These last were from Norway and the United Kingdom (two notification) — and from UNPOS, the UN Political Office in Somalia now UNSOM, run by Nicholas Kay. The UN had previously, it seems, violated its own sanctions.

Kay has been talking up charcoal sanctions enforcement in the UAE and wider Gulf, along with long time hangers-on in what we call the Somalia Industrial Complex; we still await updates on the Somaliland airspace issue.

On Eritrea, the SMEG is saying it will meet with Eritrean representatives in Paris in December.
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