UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
SOMALIA: IGAD and observers dismayed by arms inflow
NAIROBI, 17 Mar 2004 (IRIN) - The members of Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) facilitation committee for the Somali peace talks, and international observers are dismayed by reports of renewed flows of arms into Somalia, according to a joint statement issued on Tuesday.
There have been persistent local media reports over the last two weeks of arms reaching the southern Bakol and Middle Shabelle regions from Ethiopia.
In their statement, the IGAD facilitation committee and the international observers said such a development "runs counter to the aims of the National Reconciliation Conference and could create an atmosphere which undermines the process, by fuelling conflict in Somalia", noting that "it also contravenes the arms embargo on Somalia imposed by Security Council resolution 733 (1992)".
The statement called on the UN Monitoring Group tasked to monitor violations of the arms embargo "to investigate and report accordingly". It also called on the Commission of the African Union to expedite the deployment of a monitoring team in Somalia in accordance with its resolution to do so of 29 August 2003.
The statement follows the recent meeting of IGAD foreign ministers in which they supported moving the peace process into its third and final phase. The ministers urged Somali leaders who had left the talks to return immediately." In this regard, we plan to send a delegation to Jowhar to meet those leaders in the coming days," the statement said.
A number of leaders walked out of the talks and have been holding meetings in the town of Jowhar, 90 km north of Mogadishu, to consider convening a parallel conference in Somalia.
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