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March 13, 2010

Security Council Report Over Somalia and Eritrea

Filed under: Report — eritrearealclearpolitics @ 5:45 am

March 2010
Somalia

Expected Council Action • Key Recent Developments • Key Issues • Options • Council Dynamics • Selected UN Documents • Other Relevant Facts • Additional Useful SourcesOther SRC Reports on Somalia

Expected Council Action
In March the Council is expected to focus primarily on the Somalia sanctions regime. The Sanctions Monitoring Group is due to report to the Sanctions Committee before its current mandate expires on 20 March. It may also provide information and recommendations regarding the sanctions imposed by the Council on Eritrea in December 2009. Proposals of additional names for targeted sanctions are also possible. The Committee has still not designated any individuals or entities for targeted sanctions despite the fact that it is now 15 months since it was given the power to do so.  

The Council is expected to adopt a resolution extending the Monitoring Group mandate and consolidating its tasks. A request to the Secretary-General to expand its capacity with additional experts is also likely. 
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Key Recent Developments
On 23 December 2009 the Council adopted resolution 1907, imposing an arms embargo on Eritrea. The resolution also established targeted sanctions (travel ban and assets freeze) on individuals or entities that violate the arms embargo, provide support from Eritrea to armed groups seeking to destabilise the region or obstruct implementation of resolution 1862  concerning Djibouti. It called on states to inspect, in their territory, suspicious cargo to and from Somalia and Eritrea. (This type of Council request is rare.) Instead of creating a separate sanctions committee for Eritrea, the resolution expanded the mandates of the existing Committee and Monitoring Group for Somalia. (It is the first time that one committee has been put in charge of two separate sanctions regimes.) China abstained and Libya voted against the resolution despite the AU’s leading role in supporting the resolution. 

Eritrea wrote a letter  to the Council on the day of the adoption calling the resolution “shameful” and maintaining that accusations concerning its involvement in Somalia had never been “substantiated or verified”. In February Eritreans held protests in Australia, Switzerland and the US demanding an end to the sanctions.  

On 14 January the Council heard a briefing on the Secretary-General’s latest report   by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah. Ould-Abdallah outlined two main challenges for the international community in Somalia: the absence of “concrete commitment and determined international policy” towards Somalia and the lack of material assistance despite pledges made and apparent strong international support for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). To overcome these challenges, he called for better international coordination, including cooperation with subregional organisations, enhanced “moral, diplomatic and financial” assistance for the government, vigorous action against spoilers and a more integrated UN presence, as well as early relocation to Mogadishu by the international community. Somali Ambassador Elmi Ahmed Duale, who also spoke at the meeting, said the current UN strategy was “inadequate” and called for a “much heavier UN footprint.”

On 28 January the Council adopted resolution 1910 , renewing the authorisation of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until 31 January 2011. (The AU Peace and Security Council renewed AMISOM’s mandate for another 12 months on 8 January.)  

Violence in Somalia escalated sharply in January according to a 2 February statement by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Two hundred and fifty-eight civilians were killed and 253 were wounded in January, making it the deadliest month since August 2009. UNHCR also estimated that 80,000 Somalis had been displaced since the beginning of the year.

On 28 February Al Shabaab ordered the World Food Programme (WFP) to halt all operations in Somalia and leave the country. It accused the WFP of handing out expired food and also said its food distribution had negatively impacted local farmers.

While the standoff between the TFG and the insurgent groups Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam continued with daily clashes, TFG representatives repeatedly said a government offensive was imminent.   According to media reports the insurgents responded by sending additional troops to Mogadishu while residents fled in anticipation of a major confrontation. There were also reports of renewed fighting between Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam in the south.

In a 29 January statement Al-Shabaab confirmed officially for the first time that it had joined Al Qaida’s “international jihad”.

In February there were reports that representatives of the TFG and Ahlu Suna Wal Jamma (ASWJ), a pro-government Islamist group that controls parts of central Somalia, were holding talks in Addis Ababa to further strengthen cooperation, possibly through inclusion of ASWJ in the Somali government.  

Human Rights-Related Developments
Following his fourth monitoring mission to the Horn of Africa, the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Dr. Shamsul Bari, issued a strong warning on the security, human rights and humanitarian situation in the country. In a statement on 28 January, Dr. Bari said civilians in South and Central Somalia continued to bear the brunt of the fighting between TFG forces and insurgents. He urged the international community and the UN to strengthen international engagement and support to Somalia, including to Puntland and Somaliland. “This increased support is required”, he said, “particularly for the implementation of the three pillars of the Djibouti process— political, security and recovery—which all include crosscutting human rights issues”.

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Key Issues
A technical issue for the Council in March is renewal of the Monitoring Group’s mandate. A related issue is merging the two mandates currently defined by resolutions 1853 and 1907  on Somalia and Eritrea respectively.

A second issue is whether additional experts are needed as a result of the Monitoring Group’s added responsibilities and whether it should be based elsewhere than Nairobi in light of recent threats received there by its members. 

Another issue is the need to update the guidelines of the Sanctions Committee as requested by resolution 1907. 

A wider issue is moving to effective implementation of the targeted sanctions in resolutions 1844  and 1907. The Sanctions Committee has yet to make any designations under resolution 1844 well over a year after its adoption. Related issues are the impact any designations may have on the government’s reconciliation efforts and whether the Council will take action against those obstructing humanitarian access. (This sanctions criterion, which is found only in the Somalia and Democratic Republic of the Congo sanctions regimes, has never been applied.) 

A final issue is whether the Council should now focus on the situation in Somalia also in the context of the 1267 sanctions regime against Al Qaida/Taliban which authorises targeted measures against groups or individuals associated with Al Qaida. (So far only a few designations of individuals relating to the Horn of Africa have been made under this regime.)
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Options
Options for the Council include:

  • requesting the Secretary-General to reestablish the Monitoring Group for another 12 months within a specified time frame (in order to avoid any delay in its reestablishment, as was the case after the last mandate renewal) with an expanded mandate and adding further experts;
  • requesting the Committee to heighten focus on monitoring and implementation;  
  • sending a small mission to the region led by the chair of the Sanctions Committee, to signal its support to the work of the Monitoring Group (such a mission was originally planned to take place last November, but was postponed); 
  • designating, in the Sanctions Committee, individuals and entities for targeted sanctions, or if the Committee fails to progress on designations, bringing the issue to the Council for a decision; and
  • increasing its focus on the Horn of Africa through the 1267 Committee.

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Council Dynamics
It seems that Council members are having difficulties with designations of individuals and entities for targeted measures.  Some members supporting implementation of the regime often explain the delay as resulting from the lengthy domestic procedures involved in producing designation proposals.  

There appears to be general support among Council members for designations if there is sufficient evidence. However, positions are likely to remain vague until there are concrete proposals on the table.  

It seems that attempts to designate Eritrean nationals could be controversial.  Libya, which voted against resolution 1907, has left the Council, but several other members only reluctantly supported the targeted measures against Eritrea and China abstained. New members like Brazil and Lebanon seem to be generally cautious on sanctions and prefer a more balanced approach.

On the wider issues related to Somalia, most Council members appear to believe the Council is already doing as much as it can and that the main challenge now lies in implementation of what is already in place. 

The UK is the lead country on Somalia in the Council.
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Selected UN Documents

Selected Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1910 (28 January 2010) renewed authorisation of AMISOM until 31 January 2011.
  • S/RES/1907  (23 December 2009) imposed an arms embargo and targeted sanctions against Eritrea.
  • S/RES/1862 (14 January 2009) demanded that Eritrea withdraw its forces within five weeks to the positions of the status quo ante in its border dispute with Djibouti and engage in dialogue to resolve the dispute.
  • S/RES/1853 (19 December 2008) extended the mandate of the Somalia Monitoring Group and requested the Secretary-General to reestablish it for a period of 12 months. (It was re-established in March 2009.)
  • S/RES/1844  (20 November 2008) imposed targeted sanctions relating to the situation in Somalia.
Latest Secretary-General’s Report
  • S/2009/684  (31 December 2009) included an assessment of progress in implementing the three-phased approach to Somalia endorsed by the Council in May 2009.
Selected Meeting Records
  • S/PV.6259(14 January 2010) was the last briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative.
  • S/PV.6254  (23 December 2009) was the adoption of the Eritrea sanctions resolution with explanations of vote.
Other
  • S/2010/69 (4 February 2010) was a letter from Eritrea denouncing a 1 February communiqué from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development welcoming resolution 1907.
  • S/2010/59 (28 January 2010) was a letter from Eritrea criticising US policy in the Horn of Africa region.
  • S/2010/14 (7 January 2010) was a letter from the chairman of the Somalia Sanctions Committee transmitting its 2009 report to the Council President.
  • S/2009/666 (23 December 2009) was a letter from Eritrea protesting the Council’s decision to impose sanctions on it.
  • S/2008/769 (10 December 2008) was the last report of the Somalia Monitoring Group.

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Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General
Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah (Mauritania)
Chairman of the Somalia Sanctions Committee
Claude Heller (Mexico)

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Additional Useful Sources

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Security Council Report
One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza
885 Second Avenue at 48th Street, 31st Floor New York NY 10017
Tel: 212.759.9429 | Fax: 212.759.4038
contact@securitycouncilreport.org | www.securitycouncilreport.org
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