Somali President calls for lifting of arms embargo in London Conference

President Mohamed Farmaajo has pushed for the lifting of arms embargo on Somalia noting continued restriction on import of arms has limited his country’s efforts at defeating the militant group Al-Shabaab adding despite the partial lifting of the embargo, Somalia remains incapacitated to secure its people from extremist groups.

In his opening remarks during ongoing London Conference, President Farmaajo said Somali troops remained constrained to fight Al-Shabaab noting the support of Amisom which has access to heavy weaponry has been of help to the Somali forces.

“For far too long, our security forces and terrorist groups have been fighting using the same type of light weapons—mostly AK47s. Despite the bravery of our men and women in uniform, we were locked in symmetrical battles with the terrorists,” the President said.

President Farmaajo noted Somali forces must be better equipped through lifting of the embargo which was imposed by the UN Security Council in 1992.

“The longstanding arms embargo on Somalia severely restricts our ability to procure heavy weapons, despite the partial lifting of the embargo in 2013. Time has come for Somalia to be able to get access to qualitatively better weapons than terrorists.”

The President however said Somali government was now engaging the Security Council ‘to develop a clearly defined roadmap to the full lifting of the arms embargo,” adding, “This would include the improvements we must make to our weapons management, command and control systems.”

Meanwhile the President told the gathering the newly agreed security framework under the National Security Architecture will be instrumental in securing a more coordinated approach between the Federal Government and the Federal Member State.

“We are thankfully a step closer to this objective as is illustrated by the recent historic formation of the new National Security Council, which includes federal member states. The National Security Council is not only a platform for dialogue on security issues, but on broader matters of national importance,” the president said.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May echoed the president’s remarks noting the new security framework will go a long way in establishing a holistic and structured address to the security problem in Somalia adding root causes of insecurity must be tackled in Somalia.

“This means first agreeing on a detailed security plan that will help Somalia develop rapidly the structures, forces, resources and leadership needed to take control of its own security and to push on the fight against Al-Shabaab and other extremist forces,” Prime Minister May said.


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