21 August 2003


NEW YORK, 20 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is today’s statement to the press by Security Council President Fayssal Mekdad (Syria) on the midterm report of the panel of experts established to investigate violations of the arms embargo in Somalia, pursuant to resolution 1474 (2003):

Members of the Security Council were briefed today by the Chairman of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) on the midterm oral report by the Panel of Experts, set up in accordance with resolution 1474 (2003), mandated to investigate the violations of the arms embargo in Somalia, to seek to identify those who continue to violate the arms embargo and their active supporters, and to refine recommendations provided by the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1425 (2002).

Members of the Council welcomed the work done by the Panel of Experts so far, which is in support of the Somali National Reconciliation Process and the ongoing Somali National Reconciliation Conference in Kenya, launched under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Council members reiterated their deep concern about the persistent flow of weapons and ammunition to Somalia; stressed the responsibility of all Member States to fully implement the arms embargo in Somalia; and reiterated its call upon all Somali and regional parties, as well as government officials and other actors contacted outside the region to cooperate with the Panel of Experts in the discharge of its mandate.

Members of the Council welcomed the working relationships set up between the Panel and regional and international organizations, in particular the African Union and IGAD, and recognized the importance of their continued dialogue and exchange of views and information.

Council members welcomed the decision of the Chairman of the Committee to lead a mission to the region in October 2003, to demonstrate the Security Council’s determination to give full effect to the arms embargo.  They discussed the preparation of the mission, and emphasized the need for an efficient information campaign to publicize the mission’s objectives prior to its departure.

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