New York- US (PANA) -- As part of efforts to ensure lasting peace in the Horn of Africa, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has appointed a four-member expert panel to investigate violations of UN arms embargo on Somalia.
The appointment contained in a letter to the President of the Security Council, followed the Council's April resolution to re-establish the Panel of Experts on the matter.
The panel is mandated to look into breaches of the UN weapons ban, covering access to Somalia by land, air and sea.
The members are Edward Howard Johns of the US, Mohamed Abdoulaye M'Backe of Senegal, Pavanjeet Singh Sandhu of India and panel chair, Johan Peleman of Belgium.
The decision to re-establish the team, to be based in Kenya, came after the Council considered the last panel's report, which noted that even after the signing of the Eldoret (Kenya) Declaration, most Somali factions had continued to import or receive weapons in breach of the UN arms embargo.
Somali leaders who participated in last year's conference in Eldoret, had recommitted themselves to the search for peace.
The country's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ahmed Abdi-Hashi, recently called on the Security Council to impose severe sanctions on the government of Ethiopia for allegedly funding civil disturbances in his country.
Reacting to the indictment of Ethiopia by the UN panel of experts on the Somali crisis, Abdi-Hashi told PANA that the regime in Addis Ababa was supplying arms and money to warlords in Somalia to destabilise the country's transitional government.
The UN panel's report said Ethiopia was engaged in the formation of groups of warlords in Somalia, and training some 3,000 Somali militias in the border town of Manas.
It claimed that apart from violating the UN arms embargo on the Somali factions through overt involvement in the crisis, "Addis Ababa was not only a source of weapons for the warlords, but invaded Somalia in 1992.
" The Somali Ambassador said factional leaders in his country had confessed to UN experts that Ethiopia supplied them six truck-loads of ammunition, "And they boasted of receiving four times that quantity at other times.
" "We call on the Security Council to impose severe sanctions on Ethiopia for violating (the) arms embargo," he said, adding: "Effective sanctions on Ethiopia will end the war in Somalia.
" The envoy commended the UN panel for its job, saying: "this is the first time that an independent body" would investigate the crisis in Somalia and come up with "a scientific result that can provide the way to end the Somali problem.