New York- UN (PANA) -- Against the backdrop of continued fighting in the country, the UN Security Council has passed a resolution establishing a panel of experts to investigate violations of an arms embargo the world body passed on Somalia and its warlords.
The Council nonetheless commended the Kenyan government for hosting several conferences of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is mediating the reconciliation of Somali factions.
Resolution 1474 of 2003 was passed Wednesday after the Council received a report indicting neighbouring Ethiopia for supplying arms and funds to various warlords in Somalia, as well as training several militia groups to destabilise the Horn of Africa country.
According to the resolution, the panel would "detail information and make specific recommendations in relevant areas of violations and measures to give effect to and strengthen the arms embargo in its various aspects.
" The panel has jurisdiction to source for information in Somalia and neighbouring countries, to determine illegal movement of weapons to the country by air, sea and land.
"It will seek to identify those who continue to violate the arms embargo inside and outside Somalia, and their active supporters, and to provide the Council with a draft list for possible future actions," the resolution added.
The Council directed UN secretary general Kofi Annan to ensure the set up of the panel within three weeks, and to compose the body only with persons with sufficient expertise in armament, civil aviation, maritime transport and regional affairs.
It requested all Somali and regional parties, as well as government officials and other stakeholders in the region to cooperate with the panel in the discharge of its mandate.
The resolution also requires that the panel of experts "notify the Security Council immediately of any lack of cooperation.
" It also called on such regional bodies as the African Union and the Arab league, as well as other states with resources to assist Somalia in the implementation of the arms embargo.
In a reaction to the latest report on the matter, Somalia's Permanent Representative to UN, Ahmed Abdi-Hashi called on the Security Council to impose severe sanctions on the government of Ethiopia for funding civil disturbances in his country.
"The Security Council should also identify all individuals linked with the arms deal between Ethiopia and Somali warlords and impose targeted sanctions against them," he told newsmen.
The indicting report just released to the Council affirmed that Ethiopia was engaged in the formation of groups of warlords in Somalia, including the training of 3,000 Somali militias in the border town of Manas.
Apart from violating the UN arms embargo on Somali factions through overt involvement in the crisis, the report recalled that "Addis Ababa was not only a source of weapons for the warlords, but invaded Somalia in 1992.
" According to Abdi-Hashi, factional leaders in Somalia confessed to UN experts that Ethiopia supplied them six truckloads of ammunition.
"They even boasted of receiving four times that quantity at other times," the Somali envoy said, insisting "effective sanction on Ethiopia will end the war in Somalia.
" Abdi-Hashi urged the UN to deliver on an earlier pledge to assist Somalia in the demobilisation of its militias and the training of police personnel.
He also acknowledged Kenya's efforts towards a lasting peace in Somalia.