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Somalia Arms Embargo Suspended 1 Year, Journalist Jailed For Rape Victim Talk

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 6 -- After the UN Security Council voted Wednesday to suspend parts of its Somalia arms embargo for a year, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant about criticism from Amnesty International and, in the Council's open meeting, from Guatemala.

  (Inner City Press put the resolution online, here.)

  Lyall Grant first said that the attempt was to bridge the difference between these critics and those who wanted to do away with the arms embargo altogether.

  He gave examples of safeguards, ranging from Somalia giving “advance notice” of arms purchases to reporting twice a year on the restructuring of its security forces. He cited the Somali government as requesting the end of the arms embargo.

Inner City Press asked about Somalia jailing journalist Abdiaziz Abdinuur for interviewing the victim of a rape by the Somali security forces. Lyall Grant replied that the UK had condemned this, but he saw no connection to the resolution. He said there are many challenges to be addressed in Somalia -- apparently including the jailing of journalists for doing their job -- but overall, the government has restored sovereignty.

In a quote that the Somalia Permanent Representative told Inner City Press he particularly liked, Lyall Grant said the resolution is a step away from the “international trusteeship” of Somalia. “Let's hope they follow up on that,” Somalia's PR told Inner City Press. But what about journalist Abdiaziz Abdinuur? Watch this site.

Footnote: after the session, Inner City Press asked Lyall Grant about the Kenyan naval component of AMISOM. He said that much of it had been reembursed, but that now the Somalia government does not want a naval component. Ah, African Union...

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