For years, the UN Security Council has been running parallel regimes of sanctions on East Africa’s most troubled countries – Somalia, which has been struggling to defeat Al-Shabaab in the south of the country and South Sudan, which has been torn apart by various armed groups. For South Sudan, frequent clashes between splintered armed groups fuelled extension of an arms embargo last year.
Next month, the embargo on South Sudan will be up for review again, and Juba, just like Mogadishu, hopes to have the ban lifted.
Juba is choosing to lobby behind the scenes to members of the UN Security Council while Somalia is publicly calling for the lifting.
Last week, the African Union Peace and Security Council said the UN should have considered Somalia’s “repeated request” to be freed from the ban. The council, which deals with Africa’s security threats, said Somalia’s embargo should be lifted “to ensure that the country is sufficiently equipped to effectively address the security threats posed by Al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups active in Somalia, as it prepares to take over security responsibilities from Atmis at the end of the transition by 31 December 2024.”
Atmis, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, has a two-year draw-down programme to hand over security duties to Somalia’s security forces.