UN Security Council due to vote on Sudan, Somalia arms embargo

The UN Security Council is due to vote on Friday to end a political mission in war-torn Sudan and to remove the final restrictions on weapons deliveries to Somalia's government and its security forces.

The Council put the embargo on Somalia in 1992 to cut the flow of weapons to feuding warlords, who had ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and plunged the country into civil war.

The 15-member body is due to adopt two British-drafted resolutions on Friday, diplomats said - one to remove the full arms embargo on Somalia and another to reimpose an arms embargo on Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab terrorists.

It also expresses concern about the number of safe ammunition storage facilities in Somalia, and encourages the construction, refurbishment and use of safe ammunition depots across Somalia. It urges other countries to help.

Somalia's government had long asked for the arms embargo to be removed so it could beef up its forces to take on the militants. The Security Council began to partially start lifting measures Somalia's security forces in 2013.

Political crisis in Sudan

The Council is also due to vote on Sudan after the country's acting foreign minister requested the move earlier this month and described the mission's performance as "disappointing".

A war erupted on April 15 between the Sudanese army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces after weeks of rising tension between the two sides over a plan to integrate forces as part of a transition from military rule to civilian democracy.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the situation to reporters on Tuesday: "You have two generals that completely disregard the interests of their population."

When asked whether the conflict was a failure of the United Nations or African Union, Guterres said: "It's time to call a spade a spade. This is the fault of those that sacrificed the interests of their people for a pure struggle for power."

The draft council resolution terminates the mandate of the UN mission, known as UNITAMS, on December 3 and requires it to wind down over the next three months. UNITAMS was established by the 15-member council in June 2020 to provide support to Sudan during its political transition to democratic rule.

The draft text "recognises the importance of UN agencies, funds and programmes, underlines the necessity of an orderly UNITAMS transition and liquidation in order to ensure the safety of UN personnel and the effective functioning of all UN operations, including humanitarian and development assistance".

A UN country team providing humanitarian and development aid will remain in the country.

Last week Guterres appointed veteran Algerian diplomat Ramtane Lamamra as his personal envoy for Sudan. The draft Security Council resolution encourages all parties to cooperate with the envoy.

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