UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday renewed until Nov. 15, 2018 the partial lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia, the authorization of maritime interdiction of illicit arms imports and charcoal exports, and a humanitarian exemption.
The 15-member council adopted Resolution 2385 to renew the sanctions regime against Somalia and Eritre in the Horn of Africa in a majority vote of 11 versus four abstentions by Bolivia, China, Egypt and Russia.
The council also extended until Dec. 15, 2018 the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG), and recognized that during the course of its current and three previous mandates, the SEMG has not found conclusive evidence that Eritrea supports Al-Shabaab, a jihadist fundamentalist group, in Somalia.
The council expressed its intention to keep measures on Eritrea under regular review, in light of the upcoming midterm update by the SEMG due by April 30, 2018.
Recalling the three meetings between an Eritrean government representative and the SEMG, the council reiterated its expectation that the Eritrean government will facilitate the entry of the SEMG into Eritrea to discharge fully its mandate.
The council urged Eritrea and Djibouti to engage over the issue of the Djiboutian combatants missing in action and to seek all available solutions to settle their border dispute peacefully.
A United States-backed resolution led to the imposition of arms sanctions on Eritrea in 2009, with the main reason being their alleged support for Al-Shabaab. Eritrea has described the sanctions as "useless and unjustified."
Somalia is also under a sanctions regime despite being the biggest sufferer of attacks by Al-Shabaab. Security watchers say the arms embargo is partly to blame for its inability to effectively match rampaging insurgents.
The Horn of Africa region has complex security issues. Ethiopia has an internal crisis to deal with its border tensions with Eritrea. It is also actively engaged in the fight against Al-Shabaab inside Somalia.