Thank you Mr. President.
The Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) is the oldest Sanctions Committee among Council’s subsidiary bodies, and completed two decades of its existence.
2. This Sanctions Committee is unique in that it is mandated to cover two countries in the Horn of Africa, namely Somalia and Eritrea. Resolution 751, adopted in 1992, imposed arms embargo on Somalia and established a Sanctions Committee to oversee its implementation. The mandate of the Committee has since been expanding to include new provisions of arms embargo, assets freeze and travel ban through resolution 1844 (2008).
3. In 2010, the Committee was mandated by resolution 1916 to oversee the provisions connected with the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Somalia. The resolution 2026 also imposed a ban on exports of charcoal and mandated the Committee to monitor its implementation.
4. With respect to Eritrea, the Committee is mandated to oversee the implementation of targeted measures imposed by resolution 1907 in 2009. The mandate was expanded to include new provisions of resolution 2023 adopted in 2011.
5. Given this background, the work of the Committee is complex in terms of mandate as well as politically sensitive. During my two years as the Chairman, the Sanctions Committee pursued its mandate with full cooperation of the Committee member.
6. The Committee, however, continues to face significant challenges in overseeing the sanctions regimes of both Somalia and Eritrea. These include issues related to technical violations of the arms embargo, objections by humanitarian partners to the reporting requirement, questions about the working of the Monitoring Group, and in some cases, non-cooperation by member states with the Monitoring Group.
7. In view of these issues, it was my sincere effort to promote transparency and equity in Committee’s decision making. I convened regular meetings with the Special Representative for Somalia, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, representatives from the World Food Programme and UNICEF. I also encouraged Somalia, Eritrea and interested member-states of IGAD to participate in Committee meetings, to interact with the members and to express their views over the monitoring of the sanctions regime. My effort was always towards building consensus with utmost transparency.
8. Both in 2011 and this year, the Sanctions Committee invited Somalia and Eritrea to interact with the Committee immediately after the submission of the Final Reports by the Monitoring Group. Also, I encouraged free and frank discussions in the Committee over the reports and recommendations of the Monitoring Group. I held several meetings with the member-states including Permanent Representatives of Somalia and Eritrea. In these meetings, I emphasized on the implementation of sanctions regime and cooperation with the Sanctions Committee.
9. During the last two years, the Committee met 18 times in informal consultations. It approved 25 requests for exemptions to the arms embargo pursuant to paragraph 3 of resolution 1356 (2001) and 26 requests for exemptions to the arms embargo pursuant to paragraph 11 (b) of resolution 1772 (2007). It approved two travel ban exemptions to the same person in 2012. I must also state here that the work of the Committee has increased exponentially in comparison to the previous two years.
10. Mr. President, during the course of the last two years, there has been remarkable progress in the process of stabilization of political, security and humanitarian situations in Somalia. This has created a historic opportunity that must be seized for the full restoration of peace, security and stability in Somalia. In addition, the overall political and security situation in the Horn of Africa continues to improve with the increasing cooperation and reconciliation among member-states.
11. In this context, the next Chairman of the Sanctions Committee on Somalia and Eritrea would need to continue the Committee’s engagement with not only Somalia and Eritrea but also other states in the region. In the short term, the Committee will also have to take a view on the issue of the large quantity of charcoal found in Kismayo and surrounding areas. I am convening a meeting of the Sanctions Committee shortly to discuss the issue with the Monitoring Group.
12. Mr. President, it is my considered view that sanctions should be a measure of the last resort by the Security Council and must fully comply with the provisions of the UN Charter. Sanction regimes of the Security Council must not be an end in themselves, but instruments for the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in the region. In their implementation, the sanction regimes must ensure that they have the intended impact and do not exacerbate the suffering of the population. As such, it is necessary to keep these regimes under constant review and adjust the measures to suit the objective and also keep pace with the changing situation on the ground in the countries concerned.
13. In view of the developments in Somalia during the last year, I think time has come for this Council to review the sanctions regime in the Horn of Africa. This should be done taking into consideration the views expressed by the regional states as well as the African Union.
14. In conclusion, Mr. President, on my personal behalf and also on behalf my delegation, I would like express our sincere appreciation to all colleagues in the Security Council for reposing faith in my Chairmanship of the Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee for last two years. I would also like to thank all members of the Committee, their experts, and the Secretariat for their valuable support, especially to the Secretary of the Committee and his team.
I thank you.