December 3rd, 2006 04:31 EST
U.S. Submits U.N. Resolution on Regional Force for Somalia
United Nations -- The United States has presented to the Security Council a draft resolution that would send regional peacekeeping troops to Somalia to help bring stability to the country.
"The resolution will call for endorsing the efforts of IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) states and the African Union to deploy a peacekeeping force in Somalia and support a partial lifting of the arms embargo for the purpose of assisting the force and associated training," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton told journalists December 1.
Bolton gave the draft text to the delegations of the other 14 members of the Security Council so that they could consult with their capitals and begin discussions on December 4. "Then we'll proceed as rapidly as we can after that," he said.
"What we want to do is introduce this regional peacekeeping force … which many of the African states have called for, in order to provide some measure of stability there to permit a political solution," Bolton said. (See related article.)
The United States is making the proposal, the ambassador said, "in the interest of preventing further hostilities and associated displacement of persons and loss of life."
IGAD, which is chaired by Kenya, has proposed with the African Union to deploy a training and protection mission to stabilize security and help create conditions for talks between the U.N.-Backed Transitional Federal Institutions (TFI) now headquartered in Baidoa and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) movement which controls much of the country.
The resolution "is a step toward resolving" a very complicated situation, Bolton said. "We don't pretend to say that this resolution alone will be a complete solution. A lot more work remains to be done."
The draft resolution lifts the 1992 arms embargo in order to equip and train the peacekeeping troops. It emphasizes the council's willingness to engage with all parties in Somalia if they are committed to achieving a political settlement through peaceful and inclusive dialogue.
The U.S. draft bans the countries neighboring Somalia from sending soldiers. It also warns that the council would consider taking measures against those who prevent or block a peace process, overthrow the transitional government by force, or take action that would further threaten regional stability.
The resolution was submitted just days after the Security Council continued for another six months the monitoring group which investigates violations of the arms embargo. The group named ten countries that have violated the embargo by providing weapons, ammunition, equipment and other supplies, or training.
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