Security Council Renews Sanctions Regime on Somalia, Mandate for Panel of Experts, Adopting Resolution 2662 (2022) by 11 Votes in Favour, 4 Abstentions
To enforce the arms embargo on Somalia, the Security Council decided today to reauthorize maritime interdiction of illicit weapons imports, charcoal exports, and improvised explosive device components, while also renewing the mandate of the Panel of Experts on Somalia.
Adopting resolution 2662 (2022)(to be issued as document S/RES/2662 (2022)) by a vote of 11 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (China, Gabon, Ghana, Russian Federation), the 15-member organ, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, renewed the provisions set out in paragraphs 15 and 17 of resolution 2182 (2014), and expanded by paragraph 5 of resolution 2607 (2021) to cover improvised explosive device components, until 15 November 2023.
In doing so, it decided that all States will take the necessary measures to prevent all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Somalia, including prohibiting the financing of all acquisitions and deliveries of weapons and military equipment and the direct or indirect supply of technical advice, financial and other assistance, and training related to military activities, except where the beneficiary is Somalia’s security and police institutions at the national and local level, who are exempt. The resolution also notes that the arms embargo does not apply to deliveries of weapons and military equipment, or the provision of technical advice, financial and other assistance, and training related to military activities, intended solely for the development of Somalia’s security and police institutions, to provide security for the country’s people.
The exemption is also extended to, among others, United Nations and African Union missions in Somalia as well as States or international, regional and subregional organizations undertaking measures to suppress acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia. These include European Union training and support activities, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as any other State forces that are either operating within the Somalia Transition Plan, or have a status-of-forces agreement or a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Government of Somalia to serve the purposes of the resolution provided they inform the Committee about concluding such agreements.
By the text’s other provisions, the Council, reiterating that Al‑Shabaab’s terrorist and other activities pose a threat to peace and security in Somalia and the region, and underscores the need to degrade that group through targeted sanctions and disrupting its finances, by reducing the threat posed by improvised explosive devices and by improving maritime domain awareness.
As well, it decided that the name of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia shall henceforth be known as the “Security Council Committee pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Al‑Shabaab”.
On State-building and peacebuilding, the Council recalls its decisions in resolution 2628 (2022) to authorize the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and commends the renewed cooperation between all stakeholders to implement its mandate in support of the Somalia Transition Plan and the National Security Architecture and empower Somalia to assume progressively greater responsibility for its own security.
Moreover, the Council emphasized its objective to establish a consolidated framework, drawing on the technical assessment of Somalia’s weapons and ammunition management capability, and taking note of the final report of the Panel of Experts, and recommendations from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), to strengthen State-building and peacebuilding in Somalia, defeat Al‑Shabaab and complement the mandates of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and ATMIS, including through supporting weapons and ammunition management and security sector reform in Somalia and degrading the threat posed by Al‑Shabaab.
The Council also reaffirmed that the measures imposed by paragraph 3 of its resolution 1844 (2008) shall not apply to the payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources necessary to ensure the timely delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Somalia, by the United Nations, its specialized agencies or programmes, humanitarian organizations having observer status with the General Assembly that provide humanitarian assistance, and their implementing partners.
As for the mandate of the Panel of Experts on Somalia, which was renewed until 15 December 2023, the Council requested the Secretary-General to include dedicated gender expertise, in line with paragraph 11 of its resolution 2467 (2019) and further requests the Panel to include gender as a cross-cutting issue in its investigations and reporting.
On developments towards the normalization of relations between Eritrea and Djibouti, the Council expressed its intention to keep its request for reporting from the Secretary-General under review, and decided not to seek a further update from the Secretary-General at this time.
James Kariuki (United Kingdom), speaking after the adoption, said the text complements the work of UNSOM and ATMIS in supporting Somalia and in degrading Al‑Shabaab. He thanked Council members for their constructive approach and flexibility during a complicated negotiation process, adding that despite differences in perspectives and emphasis, the overall direction of travel is clear: in a difficult security and humanitarian environment, there has been political progress in Somalia, and the Council has come together to recognize this and support that country’s efforts. Welcoming the progress made by Somalia in improving its weapons and ammunition management, as outlined in the recent technical assessment, he noted that the identified benchmarks give Somalia and its partners a clear road map and will help the Council make further changes to weapons and ammunition measures in the future. The change in the Committee’s name sends a clear message: the target is Al‑Shabaab.
Robert A. Wood (United States), noting his vote in favour of the resolution, said the modifications in the text reflect the Somali Government’s commendable progress in weapons and stockpile management, and expressed hope that such progress will continue, allowing for the further easing of the arms embargo. The adopted text is tailored to the Somali context and will support and enable robust action by Somali authorities, in line with their three-part strategy to tackle Al-Shabaab. He urged all member States to implement existing Council resolution 751 (1992) concerning Al‑Shabaab, and to support designations of individuals, groups and their supporters in the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Al‑Shabaab.
Lana Zaki Nusseibeh (United Arab Emirates) said that in adopting the resolution the Council unequivocally condemns Al‑Shabaab’s terrorist activities. She commended the efforts and progress of the Government of Somalia on weapons and security management, development of the country’s security forces and countering Al‑Shabaab. Now more than ever, Somalia needs renewed international support as it continues to demonstrate willingness to implement key reforms, she said, adding that the Government must be enabled to respond effectively to evolving security threats. As sanctions should consider the needs and changing environment on the ground, the Council should continuously review sanctions and remain open to further easing of restrictions. Underscoring the importance of not linking terrorism to religion, she welcomed the inclusion of a paragraph jointly proposed by the United Arab Emirates, Gabon, Ghana and Kenya, which condemns terrorist groups’ attempts to craft distorted narratives based on the misinterpretation and misrepresentation of religion. Terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group, she said.
Jean-Pierre-Hemery Doumbeneny Nozigna (Gabon), noting his delegation’s abstention, pointed out that the sanctions regime in Somalia is one of the oldest ones in the Council. Sanctions are not intended to last forever, he stressed, noting that they are simply a tool for international peacekeeping and security. Somalia is led today by democratically elected authorities after the election of President Sheikh Mohamud on 15 May. His Government has favoured national reconciliation, ensuring security on the country’s entire territory, facilitating the transition of international support for security in accordance with the country's transition plan and the national security programme. In that regard, the international community must continue supporting the efforts and policies of the Government particularly with respect to reconstruction, restoring the State and combatting the terrorist threat of Al‑Shabaab.
Anna M. Evstigneeva (Russian Federation) said she abstained from the vote due to her non-consent with a number of the text’s provisions. While welcoming the steps taken to weaken the arms embargo, she said the Council must demonstrate its receptivity to sanctioned countries seeking to shore up their institutions and national security sector. Over the long-term, the Somali people will need to counteract the threat posed by Al‑Shabaab, which can only be accomplished by ending the protracted conflict and reunifying the country, she said, adding that it is inadmissible for external forces to use their military presence to advance parochial aims and further militarize the Horn of Africa. The latest exemptions from the arms embargo are not a privilege, but steps towards eradicating threats faced by all. She expressed regret over the colonialist mindsets of some Council members who were unwilling to delete references related to bilateral relations between Djibouti and Eritrea. Expressing concern over “the dualistic approach to Al‑Shabaab”, she questioned why the group is being kept at a distance from the Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning ISIL (Da’esh) and Al‑Qaida, despite its uncontested affiliations with those groups.
Martin Kimani (Kenya) said he voted in favour of the text, due to the tougher measures taken against the Al‑Qaida affiliate in Somalia, which accords with regional security concerns. Somalia’s Government seeks more support from the Council, including the dropping of the arms embargo, he said, adding that this is also the stance taken by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council. However, this proposal was not sufficiently supported during this round of negotiations, he said, expressing confidence that the conduct of Somali forces and its Government will lead to the dropping of the embargo. Kenya, along with Gabon and Ghana, negotiated in this direction, as well as worked together to ensure that the Committee is named in a way that clarifies who the enemy is, and made it easier for the Somali Federal Government to acquire more lethal weaponry. Underlining the need for the tracking of military equipment to prevent it from falling into the hands of terrorists, he expressed hope that Council members, including incoming ones, will be receptive to Somalia’s request, as a partial arms embargo adversely affects the capability of the Government in eradicating the existential threat posed by Al‑Shabaab. Recalling his country’s request to list the group within the Council’s 1267 Committee, to increase pressure and send a clear message that the group is outside political inclusion, he said such efforts were blocked. Echoing the Russian Federation’s representative’s statement that such a decision reflected double standards, he emphasized that all terrorist groups must face the same standards and that humanitarian exemptions must be made available in relevant regimes.
Geng Shuang (China), noting that exemptions to the arms embargo should maintain uniform criteria, said the resolution is inconsistent with the principles of fairness and non-discrimination. According to reports submitted by the Secretariat, the Somali Government’s weapon and ammunition management capacity is currently inadequate. The management of the weapons depot is chaotic and none of the ammunition depots have been built. Moreover, the professionalism of security forces needs to be improved, he said, noting the rampant illegal arms trade and trafficking in the country. As such, Somalia is not in a position for eased sanctions, he said, voicing hope that the Government will take measures to enhance its capacity to manage arms and ammunitions and prevent weapons exempted by the Council from falling into the hands of terrorist organizations. Given that the resolution does not reflect the reality in Somalia and its double standards on the issue of exemptions to the arms embargo, China abstained from voting on the text.
Carolyn Oppong-Ntiri (Ghana) said her delegation abstained because it wished to see the total lifting of the arms embargo in line with the Somali Government’s expectations. Acquisition of the right arms and ammunition by the Government would empower the Somalia National Army to effectively fight Al‑Shabaab and improve the security situation in the country. Noting that the resolution provides for the systematic lifting of the arms embargo, she voiced hope that the arms embargo would eventually be lifted to enable Somalia to deal effectively with the security situation in the country. She recommended that the Eritrea-Djibouti issue be dealt with outside the scope of the resolution.
Abukar Dahir Osman (Somalia), expressing dissatisfaction over the conduct of the negotiations towards the adopted resolution, called for the lifting of the arms embargo which has been imposed on his country since 1992. Even though his country today has a democratically elected Government vowed to protect its people, he stressed that the longest United Nations sanctions regime with its widest mandate has hindered efforts to build its national security forces and counter the threat of the terrorist group Al‑Shabaab. While the national army has recently been able to recover many villages and towns from Al‑Shabaab, he added that challenges remain in consolidating operation gains, especially in the liberated areas.
“The present state of arms capability imbalance between our national forces and the terrorist group is the direct cost of the Council’s arms embargo,” he emphasized. Recalling the African Union’s communiqué in July which called for the urgent lifting of the embargo, he pressed the Council to consider the request so its national army can legally acquire capabilities to defeat Al‑Shabaab and pave the way for a successful exit of ATMIS by 2024.
The meeting began at 2:33 p.m. and ended at 3:10 p.m.