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UN Slams Violation Of Arms Embargo In Somalia
NEW YORK, March 16, 2006-- The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday condemned the increased influx of weapons into Somalia in violation of the 1992 UN embargo and voiced concern over the humanitarian situation in the drought-hit horn of Africa country.
The 15-member council unanimously adopted a statement drafted by China that slammed the arms inflow and "the continuous violations of the United Nations arms embargo" and urged all states "to take steps to hold violators accountable".
Last month, warlords controlling the Somali capital urged the UN Security Council to refuse calls by President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed to lift an arms embargo, warning that such a move would shatter any hopes of peace in the country.
The United States, UN chief Kofi Annan, donor nations and the International Crisis Group, a respected policy panel, have all warned that lifting the embargo, could spark a fresh round of bloodletting in Somalia.
Somalia has lacked an effective security force since the 1991 overthrow of dictator Mohammed Siyad Barre.
The Security Council also reaffirmed its support for the Somali peace talks.
In November, the seven-nation east African Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which mediated the Somali peace talks, said the transitional government had the right to recruit and equip its own security forces despite the arms embargo and that it should not be barred from asserting the country's legitimate right to self-defence.
Yusuf and Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi have established themselves in Jowhar, 90km to the north because of insecurity in Mogadishu.
In its statement, the Council also called on warring clans to cease all hostilities and resolve their differences peacefully.
It also expressed serious concern over the plight of 1.7 million Somalis threatened with starvation or malnutrition in southern Somalia.
Already torn by perennial factional conflicts since plunging into political turmoil more than a decade ago, a severe drought currently ravaging parts of southern Somalia is threatening the lives of millions of war-bruised people.
Two seasons of failed rains have hit the country hard, and officials estimate that about 60 percent of cattle have died as a result of the intensified drought. -