Somaliland opposes UN’s decision to lift arms embargo on Somalia

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Somaliland has expressed “deep concerns” over the United Nations Security Council’s decision to lift the arms embargo on Somalia, citing significant risks to regional security. The government emphasized the potential dangers of arms falling into the hands of extremist groups due to Somalia’s inadequate weapons control systems.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Somaliland highlighted the threat posed by the unrestricted availability of weapons in the region. The government referenced the devastating civil war during the early 1990s in Somaliland as a stark reminder of the dangers posed by easy access to arms. “The emergence of clan militia groups such as Laasnod ones, aligning themselves with extremist entities presents a clear and present danger in the region,” the statement noted.

Somaliland says it is concerned about Somalia’s lack of effective weapons tracing systems, oversight mechanisms, and ammunition management policies. “This raises serious concerns regarding the potential diversion of weapons to terrorist and extremist groups, further destabilizing the region,” the spokesperson added. The potential for an arms race among extremist militia groups in Somalia was seen as a distinct possibility, potentially undermining regional security and stability.

Meanwhile, in Mogadishu, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud welcomed the UN’s decision, viewing it as a step toward regaining Somalia’s autonomy in armament decisions. The Somali government has assured a stringent oversight system to manage the influx of arms responsibly. Somalia’s UN Ambassador, Abukar Dahir Osman, supported the decision, stating it would enable Somalia to confront security threats more effectively and strengthen its security forces.

The UN Security Council lifted the three-decade-long arms embargo on Friday. The UN Security Council’s resolution specifically reinstates an embargo against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants, while acknowledging Somalia’s progress in security management. The lifting of the embargo is also considered crucial as the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) prepares for its withdrawal by December 2024.