Global Policy Forum

UN Council Considers Somalia Mission Resolution


By Michelle Nichols

February 12, 2007

The U.N. Security Council was considering a British-drafted resolution on Monday to authorize an African Union peacekeeping mission to Somalia as mortar bombs struck the capital Mogadishu, sending it further into chaos. The Chapter 7 resolution, which may be approved by Friday, calls on African Union troops to take "all necessary measures" to provide government, infrastructure and humanitarian security and training for Somali security forces. Somali forces backed by Ethiopia's military routed Islamist troops in a two-week war in the fragile northeast African nation over Christmas and New Year.

But near daily attacks blamed on ousted Islamist hard-liners have put pressure on the interim government, which is struggling to restore stability so Ethiopian troops who helped it take the capital can return home. The Security Council on Feb. 2 welcomed an African Union offer to send peacekeepers to Somalia -- which has been in chaos since 1991 when it became a patchwork of feuding warlords after a dictator was ousted -- and urged it to do so quickly. Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said last month he wanted his thousands of troops out "within weeks."

The draft resolution, "decides to authorize members states of the African Union to establish for a period of six months a mission in Somalia, which shall be authorized to take all necessary measures to carry out" its mandate. It also lifts a 1992 arms embargo and says the import of weapons are to be used by this force only. Outside experts hired by the Security Council reported last year that Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Syria provided illegal weapons to the Islamists while Ethiopia, Uganda and Yemen helped supply the interim government. AU Peace and Security Commissioner Said Djinnit said on Monday that Uganda, Nigeria, Burundi, Malawi and Ghana had offered to send soldiers. But only about 4,000 troops of the 8,000 troops called for have so far been pledged.

The measure also requests that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon report back to the council within 60 days on the progress of the Somalia's transitional government in pursuing an inclusive political process. The draft also "reiterates its intention to consider taking measures against those who seek to prevent or block a peaceful political process, threaten the transitional federal institutions by force or take action that undermines stability in Somalia or the region." Since their defeat, the Islamists -- who held Mogadishu for six months after seizing it in June -- have scattered to southern Somalia and Kenya, some vowing a long guerrilla war against the government. The British draft also takes note of the African Union Peace and Security Council's aim for the peacekeeping mission to evolve into a U.N. operation that will support the long-term stabilization and rebuilding of Somalia.

More Information on the Security Council
More Information on Somalia
More Information on Peacekeeping in Africa


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