Expected Council Action
The Council is likely to continue to discuss how best to support the ongoing talks between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). In that context, continuing discussions are likely on modifications to the arms embargo (including equipment for training Somali security forces and criteria for targeted sanctions). Council members are also likely to discuss the request from the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for exemptions to the arms embargo for the IGAD Mission in Somalia (IGASOM).
Members will be paying close attention to the developments on the ground as work on these issues progresses.
Contrary to earlier expectations, a draft resolution on modifications to the embargo has not yet been presented, and it is unclear at press time when it will emerge. In the absence of an established peace process involving consent from all parties, it seems unlikely at this stage that the Council will support the proposed IGASOM.
Members also expect the regular report of the Secretary-General on Somalia in October.
Key Recent Developments
The second round of talks between the TFG and UIC led to an agreement on 5 September creating joint security forces after a power-sharing deal is reached, rejecting foreign interference and reaffirming the June truce. Somali foreign minister Ismail Hurre Buba reportedly indicated the TFG’s position is that the agreement does not prevent the deployment of IGASOM, which the UIC vehemently opposes. Together with the reported presence of Ethiopian troops, this is seen as a major difficulty for the third round of talks scheduled for 30 October.
IGAD heads of state and government met on 5 September to adopt the mission plan. IGASOM is expected to have 8,000 troops from Uganda and perhaps Sudan as well. Djibouti and Eritrea did not attend the meeting. The AU Peace and Security Council officially endorsed the mission plan on 13 September.
Kenyan foreign minister Raphael Tuju (as chair of IGAD’s council of ministers) and Somali minister Buba appealed at a Council meeting on 25 September for exemptions, citing the adoption of the national security and stabilisation plan and IGASOM’s mission plan. Both documents were expected to be circulated to Council members at press time.
Tensions between the TFG and the UIC further increased with an assassination attempt against Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf on 18 September and the UIC’s taking control of Kismayo on 25 September.
The TFG has considered the move a violation of the June truce and has accused the UIC of receiving support from Eritrea. The UIC has considered the government’s support for IGASOM a violation of the September agreement, and has reportedly called for support from foreign Muslim fighters.
Options include supporting the talks using the sanctions regime, perhaps by signalling willingness to adopt targeted measures against individuals resisting a negotiated path to peace between the TFG and UIC. This could also include adopting criteria for targeted sanctions.
Members may also consider sending political signals to encourage the UIC to cooperate, perhaps through more overt criticism of the Ethiopian presence.
The option of granting arms embargo exemptions to IGASOM seems less likely at the present stage. An alternative may be to encourage the parties to reach a negotiated agreement on the issue.
Another option is to modify the arms embargo to support training for the Somali security sector.
The broader issue is how best to support the talks. In that context, the key question is how to devise a balanced approach, now that the recent events seem to have crystallised the view that alienating the UIC may be counterproductive.
One immediate issue is whether the IGASOM mission would have potential negative effects on the security situation, and how best to deal with the regional dimension. There is the risk that a passive approach to external interference could stimulate further deterioration in relations between the UIC and TFG. On the other hand, without Ethiopian assistance, the TFG may collapse altogether.
Another immediate issue is the potential effect of modifications of the arms embargo and targeted sanctions on the TFG/UIC talks.
The lack of clarity of the UIC’s intentions is also a key issue.
A complex issue relates to the assessment of the national security and stabilisation plan and IGASOM’s mission plan according to criteria in Council statements. Moreover, with the growth in the UIC’s influence, the key issue seems to be whether the mission should be made contingent upon consent from both parties.
Most members seem to have in mind that IGASOM may have negative effects on the talks, and that there is no consensus within IGAD itself on this issue. Members are also aware that, given the absence of funding for the mission, it is unclear how it can actually be deployed.
Most members seem to be seeking additional time to observe developments on the ground before adopting a position or starting wider negotiations on the modifications of the arms embargo.
Others, in particular China and Tanzania, seem to have a higher degree of sympathy for the AU/IGAD request.
|Selected Security Council Resolutions|
|Selected Presidential Statements|
|Selected Secretary-General’s Report|
|Latest Report of the Monitoring Group|
|25 September 2006||IGAD and Somalia called for exemptions to the arms embargo at a Council meeting. The UIC took control of Kismayo.|
|18 September 2006||President Yusuf suffered an assassination attempt.|
|13 September 2006||The AU Peace and Security Council formally endorsed IGASOM’s mission plan.|
|5 September 2006||
The TFG and the UIC reached an agreement on joint security forces. IGAD adopted a revised IGASOM mission plan.
|Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia|
|François Lonseny Fall (Guinea)|
|Chairman of the Somalia Sanctions Committee|
|Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser (Qatar)|