Somali’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire has floated an appeal to the world leaders to lift the international arms embargo imposed on his country. The request comes as the country continues to struggle with the threat of the al Qaeda affiliated terror organization, al Shabaab. The plea to lift the embargo was the highlight of his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York. Khaire said, “In Somalia, we have made significant strides, in which we have weakened the capability of al-Shabab.”
The prime minister said his country needs a longstanding weapons embargo entirely lifted so the national army can obtain heavy weapons to defeat al-Shabab, an Islamist militant group affiliated to al-Qaida. Al-Shabab is behind the suicide bombings and attacks on hotels and restaurants as well as military bases for African Union troops and the Somali National Army.
The weapons embargo lift would ensure that the gains made by AMISOM in collaboration with the country’s security agencies would be maintained long after the Mission had withdrawn from Somalia. He further offered the Somali government’s commitment to work with global leaders and other stakeholders to ensure that the weaponry acquired does not end up in the hands of the al Shabaab.
The Somali government appeal for the lifting of its arms embargo comes nearly two weeks after the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in the country, known as UNSOM, called for practical support and political encouragement to the Somali leadership.