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New York - The United Nations Security Council will continue to monitor the flow of weapons in Somalia after it allowed for the first time - and for one year only - the government in Mogadishu to import arms and military equipment, diplomats said on Wednesday.
The 15-nation council decided to renew for another year the mandate of the African Union mission in Somalia, authorising it to use “all necessary measures” to implement its tasks.
The mission, comprising more than 17 700 military and civilian personnel, will remain in Somalia until February 2014 to assist the federal government in Mogadishu fight the threats of the Islamist Al-Shabaab group and other militants.
The council said in a resolution adopted unanimously that the government can for the first time since the 1990s import weapons and military equipment needed to train and develop the country's security forces.
Somalian government officials had argued for the lifting the embargo so Mogadishu can rebuild its security forces challenged by Islamist forces and armed opposition groups.
British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the resolution suspended “some elements” of the arms embargo from the government for 12 months and introduced a monitoring and reporting mechanism to allow the council continued oversight of weapons flows and use in Somalia.
Grant said the council had been cautious on partially lifting the arms embargo, allowing the government to have access to arms and equipment it needed.
“It sends a positive political signal to President Hassan Sheikh, but it continues to give the council oversight of weapons flows into Somalia,” Grant said. - Sapa-dpa