Home | News    Monday 18 October 2010

AU urges UN to impose naval blockade, no-fly zone in Somalia

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

October 17, 2010 (ETHIOPIA) – The Peace and Security Council of the African Union has called upon the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone and block sea ports in Somalia to prevent infiltration of foreign elements and the support funneled to insurgents in Somalia.

A powerful Somali pirate chief stands on a beach overlooking a hijacked ship anchored off the coast of the east African nation. (AFP)

The African Union body, at its 245th meeting held at ministerial level, on 15 October 2010 in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, expressed grave concern on the security and humanitarian situations prevailing in Somalia.

It asked the UN body to swiftly respond to the requests by the AU and the region in line with its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

The AU Council urged the UN Security Council to request the naval operations undertaken off the coast of Somalia and with its authorization, to provide a more direct and tangible support to AMISOM, the modalities of which will be subsequently defined between the concerned countries and organizations, on the one hand, the AU, on the other.

“Council requests naval blockade and a no?fly zone over Somalia to prevent the entry of foreign elements into Somalia, as well as flights and shipments carrying weapons and ammunition to armed groups inside Somalia which are carrying out attacks against the TFG, AMISOM and the Somali population.” The Peace and Security Council of the African Union said.

International warships from NATO, Russia, China and other regional countries patrol in the Red See for pirates off the Somalia’s coastline, in a bid to deter the ramping maritime piracy in the region since 2008.

Also, Eritrea has widely been accused of fueling security situation in the war-torn Somalia by arming, providing logistics and training foreign fighters to the Islamist insurgent group, Al Shabab which is believed to have links with Al-Qaida.

At the meeting held in Addis Ababa the council hailed all the countries and organizations providing support to the peace keeping mission in Somalia, and urged members of the international community to respond generously and with the flexibility required to the consolidated appeal for Somalia.

The African Union reiterated its commitment for the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Somalia, and reaffirmed its full support to the Somali government.

The AU body further reiterated the commitment of the Union to provide political and diplomatic support to the Somali government, work towards enhancing security to create a more conducive environment for the transitional institutions in the troubled country including security and police forces and public institutions, and facilitate humanitarian action.

The Addis Ababa meeting has also set a number of decisions including ensuring the effective implementation of sanctions against all those impeding the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia.

In this regard the meeting endorsed the revised concept of operations and newly?authorized strength of AMISOM, namely, 20,000 troops for the military component, 1,680 for the police component, comprising 560 police experts on mission and 8 Formed Police Units of 140 each, and an enhanced civilian component,