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The Procedure of the UN Security Council, 4th Edition

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Updated on 1 Mar. 2015

Chapter 9:   RELATIONS WITH OTHER ORGANS AND ENTITIES

Section 10:   Authorizations to States to carry out peace enforcement

 

Notification by Somali Government pursuant to resolution 2182 (2014)
 

On 7 January 2015, the President of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) wrote to the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 15 of resolution 2182 (2014), adopted on 24 October 2014.  That paragraph authorizes, for a 12-month period,

 

"Member States, acting nationally or through voluntary multinational naval partnerships, such

as 'Combined Maritime Forces', in cooperation with the FGS and which the FGS has notified to

the Secretary-General and which the Secretary-General has subsequently notified to all Member States, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo on Somalia and the

charcoal ban, to inspect, without undue delay, in Somali territorial waters and on the high seas

off the coast of Somalia extending to and including the Arabia sea and Persian Gulf, vessels

bound to or from Somalia which they have reasonable grounds to believe are [carrying charcoal

from Somalia in violation of the charcoal ban, or weapons or military equipment in violation of

the arms embargo or destined to individuals or entities designated by the 751/1907 Sanctions Committee]."

 

Citing paragraph 15, the Somali President’s letter notified the Secretary-General that “we are satisfied for selected Member States who are member nations of the Combined Maritime Forces” (CMF) to conduct the inspections provided for in that paragraph.  The letter states that the members of the CMF include:  Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States (S/2015/122).

 

Although the letter from the Somali President was dated 7 January 2015, it was not transmitted to the Security Council by the Secretary-General until 17 February.  No explanation was given for the delay between the adoption of resolution 2182 (2014) on 24 October 2014 and the sending of the Somali letter on 7 January 2015, nor for the delay in transmitting that letter to the Security Council.  It is possible that at least some of the delay was attributable to governmental instability in Somalia.  The Prime Minister, appointed in December 2014, dissolved his cabinet on 17 January, and a new cabinet was not approved by Parliament until 9 February. 

 

The provisions in paragraph 15 stemmed from a recommendation in the report of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group dated 19 September 2014 (S/2014/726) and a request from the Somali President dated 8 October 2014.  However, the authorization to Member States “acting nationally” and the provision that the inspections can be conducted beyond Somali territorial waters went beyond those two documents, and were controversial.  Two Council members – Jordan and the Russian Federation – abstained in the vote on the resolution.  In addition, Egypt, on behalf of the Arab Group, wrote to the Council President asking that the authorization be limited to States “acting through voluntary naval partnerships” and be confined to Somali territorial waters (S/2014/760).  

 

The Security Council has previously authorized Member States to intercept maritime shipping in order to verify compliance with arms embargoes and sanctions regimes. Such authorizations were made in the cases of Iraq (resolution 665 (1990)), former Yugoslavia (resolution 787 (1992)), Haiti (resolution 875 (1993)), Sierra Leone (resolution 1132 (1997)), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (resolution 1874 (2009)), Iran (resolution 1929 (2010)), and Libya (resolution 1973 (2011)).  In the Iraq resolution, those authorized were described as “Member States co-operating with the Government of Kuwait which are deploying maritime forces to the area”.  In the former Yugoslavia and Haiti resolutions, those authorized were described as “States, acting nationally or through regional agencies or arrangements”, and additionally in the case of Haiti, as those “cooperating with the legitimate Government of Haiti”.  Concerning Sierra Leone, the authorization was specifically to ECOWAS.  In the case of the DPRK and Libya, the authorization was to “all Member States”.  In the Iran resolution, the authorization was to “States”. 

 

The geographic area was not specified in the cases of Iraq, former Yugoslavia, Haiti or Sierra Leone.  In the resolutions on the DPRK, Iran and Libya, inspections “on the high seas” were authorized.  In the case of Libya, such inspections on the high seas were without conditions, whereas for the DPRK and Iran, they were to be “with the consent of the flag State”.  (This update supplements pages 651 and 654 of the book.)