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U.S. eases arms restrictions for Somalia

April 9, 2013 at 10:12 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, April 9 (UPI) -- Providing military assistance to the Somali government is in the interest of U.S. national security, President Barack Obama said in a memorandum.

Obama issued a notice to Secretary of State John Kerry noting his position on arms exports to Somalia.

"I hereby find that the furnishing of defense articles and defense services to the Federal Republic of Somalia will strengthen the security of the United States and promote world peace," the memo stated.

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution last month extending the mandate for the African Union's mission in Somalia by another year. The council, meanwhile, decided to integrate the U.N. Political Office in Somalia with the AU mission.

"On the arms embargo, originally imposed in 1992, the council decided that it would not apply to arms or equipment sold or supplied solely for the development of the government's security forces, but it kept its restrictions in place on heavy weapons, such as surface-to-air missiles," a statement read.

Somalia last year made strides in solidifying the authority of the central government in Mogadishu.

Somali Foreign Minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam said in March that political gains were grounds for hope, "but they are precarious and the road to full recovery will be long."

An international meeting on Somalia is to convene in May in London.

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