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20-Year-Old UN Arms Embargo On Somalia Partially Lifted

The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) has authorized partial lifting of the 20-year-old arms embargo imposed on Somalia.

The Council was unanimous in adopting a resolution on Wednesday to suspend for one year the ban on selling weapons to Somalia - the world's oldest such embargo.

The Council said it took the decision to boost the Somali government's capacity to protect areas recovered from the militant group al-Shabaab and defend against fresh attempts by such groups to destabilize the country.

It decided that the arms embargo, originally imposed in 1992, would not apply to arms or equipment sold or supplied solely for the development of the government's security forces, but it kept its restrictions in place on heavy weapons, such as surface-to-air missiles.

In addition, the government would be required to notify the Council's sanctions committee at least five days in advance of any such deliveries and provide details of the transactions. Alternately, Member-States delivering assistance may make the notification after informing the government of its intentions in that regard.

Commenting on the development, the United States said the UNSC "sent a clear signal of support to the new Somali Government" and has answered President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed's call for "one door to knock on," by unifying U.N. development and humanitarian work under the U.N. Special Representative's direction.

"We will continue to work to support the Government of Somalia as they endeavor to turn the page on two decades of civil war by maintaining recent progress and working closely with regional and international partners to improve the lives of all Somalis," said Susan Rice, U.S. Representative to the United Nations.

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