Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-The Federal Government of Somalia held a historic event on Wednesday to celebrate the lifting of Somalia’s Arms Embargo by the United Nations Security Council, after 32 years since its imposition in 1992.

The event brought together Somali leaders, including the president, prime minister, ministers, members of parliament, and representatives from Somalia’s international partners.

Speaking at the historic event, President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud highlighted the impacts the arms embargo had on Somalia’s security institutions, stating that it had hampered its military capabilities.

“Let’s remember that the embargo limited our ability to protect our citizens, enforce the rule of law, and secure our border. It also hampered our efforts to build a capable and professional national army that can ensure the safety and well-being of our people,” President Hassan said.

President Hassan called for joint collaboration to strengthen Somalia’s efforts in enhancing its security institutions, such as weapons and ammunition management systems after the arms embargo.

“Over the past decade, we have gradually enhanced our weapons and ammunition management systems. The lifting of the Arms Embargo is not just a policy change; it is the recognition of the collective determination and resolve that has brought us to this historic moment today.”

“Let the spirit of unity and collaboration that has characterized this journey guide us in the continued efforts to strengthen our nation’s institutions,” he added.

The president acknowledged the vital role played by the Somali National Army and its international partners in securing the nation from the threats of terrorist groups.

He expressed appreciation to international partners and friends for their support throughout the negotiation process and in supporting Somalia in implementing national weapons and ammunition management priorities.

Ms. Anita Kiki Gbeho, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), stated that the move by the United Nations Security Council shows Somalia’s efforts to meet the standards of weapons and ammunition management.

“On behalf of UNSOM, I would like to congratulate Somalia on the lifting of the Arms Embargo. This historic decision by the United Nations Security Council demonstrates the progress that Somalia has made over the years, particularly against the benchmark set in 2022 on weapons and ammunition management,” Ms. Kiki said.

She welcomed the federal government’s efforts to strengthen its weapons and ammunition measures to prevent access to weapons by terrorist groups.

“Together with international partners, the UN stands ready to support the government in ensuring the arms embargo does not inadvertently lead to the diversion of arms and ammunition. Such support includes the provision of technical advisory and capacity building to support the implementation of the National Weapons and Ammunition Management strategy and its action plan,” she added.

Ambassador Mohammed El-Amine Souef, Head of ATMIS and AU representative to Somalia, acknowledged Somalia’s achievements in strengthening its security sector and implementing the National Security Architecture and the Somalia Transition plan.

“I am privileged to join the government and the people of Somalia, and the entire international community to celebrate this historic movement. The lifting of the Arms Embargo on Somalia is a clear acknowledgement of Somalia’s achievements in its security sector reforms.”

“It is a recognition of the government’s commitment and dedication to consistently meet key benchmarks in the implementation of the National Security Architecture and the Somalia Transition plan,” Ambassador El-Amine said.

He reiterated the commitment of the African Union and the African Transition Mission in Somalia to support Somalia’s efforts to fight terrorism and implement comprehensive security sector reforms, such as building strong security institutions.

International partners also notably congratulated Somalia for its recent admission to the East African Community, citing that it shows Somalia’s efforts to strengthen ties, promote regional economy and integration.

Somali leaders have jointly welcomed the lifting of the arms embargo and called for swift implementation of post-embargo strategies and plans to control the access and entry of weapons into Somalia.

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