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Somalia Asked UN to Fire Somalia Eritrea Sanctions Chief, Now What?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, December 5 -- Somalia has asked the UN to "terminate the contract" of Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group coordinator Jarat Chopra, in a letter obtained by Inner City Press and today published online here.

   Somalia has asked for a revision of the SMEG's last report, on the topic of "misappropriation of Somalia's public resources."

  The letter is signed by Fawzia Yusef J. Adam as deputy prime minister. Other sources in Somalia tell Inner City Press that with the voting-out of Somalia's prime minister this week, the position of Fawzia Adam and of this letter and the US-based outside counsel it cites to are now in doubt.

  In the run-up to the November 26 closed door briefing of the UN Security Council on Somalia and Eritrea sanctions, as exclusively reported in Inner City Press and in greater detail in Beacon Reader, here, Chopra raised to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and others the shipping and sale of charcoal from Somalia in violation of the sanctions.

  The UAE and Oman did not immediately respond to inquiries about particular ships. The UAE prefers the re-sale of seized charcoal to its destruction under the supervision and advice of the UN Environment Program, despite concerns about corruption in re-sale that have been raised.

  The Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group's most recent public report "estimates... an overall international market value of US $360 to $384 million, with profits divided along the charcoal trade supply chain, including for Al-Shabaab." The SMEG puts the Al-Shabaab share at 40% - and says "the remaining 60% is divided between the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) (20%) and Ras Kamboni (40%)."

  Sources informed Inner City Press that the SMEG had been ordered out of, or "Persona Non Grata-ed" from, Kenya.

  Inner City Press exclusively spoke with senior representation of Kenya on this, and it was denied. Others said the UN's Department of Political Affairs was trying to resolve the situation, particular in light of the Security Council's rejection with eight abstentions of the African Union's request that the Council suspend the Kenya proceedings of the International Criminal Court for a year.

   Since then, the issue has been explained to Inner City Press as more individually-based. Then the Somalia letter specifically asking that Jarat Chopra be fired was obtained.

  In its last report the SMEG named an array of arms embargo violators in Somalia. Click here for Inner City Press' reporting on those violations, including by the UK, which (overly) "insider" Reuters for example neglected to mention in its gushing report.

   (Actually, Inner City Press sources in Somalia link Fawzia Adam, the request and counsel to the UK - we'll have more on this.)

  In its 120 day report to the Council, obtained by Inner City Press from multiple sources, it says "with regard to the arms embargo, the Committee considered three notifications for exemptions from the arms embargo pursuant to paragraph 11(a) of resolution 2111 (2013) [Australia, International Maritime Organization and Yemen] and received, for its information, four notifications pursuant to paragraph 10 (g) of the same resolution."

  These last were from Norway and the United Kingdom (two notifications) -- and from UNPOS, the UN Political Office in Somalia now UNSOM, run by Nicholas Kay. The UN had previously, it seems, violated its own sanctions.

  Kay has been talking up charcoal sanctions enforcement in the UAE and wider Gulf, along with long time hangers-on in what we call the Somalia Industrial Complex; we still await updates on the Somaliland airspace issue.

  On Eritrea, the SMEG said it will meet with Eritrean representatives in Paris now in December. We will have more on this. Watch this site.


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