Thursday, November 8, 2012

UN rejects move to fund Kenyan Naval forces in Somalia

FILE | NATION The Kenya Navy on the deep waters of the Indian ocean near Koday town in Somalia.

FILE | NATION The Kenya Navy on the deep waters of the Indian ocean near Koday town in Somalia.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KEVIN J KELLEY in NEW YORK

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday shelved a request by the African Union for UN funding of Kenya's naval forces operating off the coast of Somalia.

"Three or four members" of the 15-nation Security Council blocked the effort to secure financial support for a Kenyan naval component of the AU military mission in Somalia, said Doctor Mashabane, South Africa's deputy UN ambassador.

France, one of the five veto-wielding members of the council, was identified in some reports as a leading opponent of the AU request.

The council was acting to preserve its unity on Somalia-related issues when it subsequently gave unanimous support on Wednesday to a resolution that does not include naval funding and that extends Amisom's mandate for four months, Mr Mashabane said.

India, which currently holds the presidency of the Security Council, said at the session that it is "disappointed" at the exclusion of a maritime component from Amisom's mandate.

India's representative added that his country hopes the matter will again be considered as part of a strategic review of the hybrid AU-UN military force in Somalia.

In a report to the Security Council last month, the AU pointed to an "urgent need" to include naval resources under Amisom's aegis.

The AU said naval power, supplied exclusively by Kenya, had been crucial in "preventing Al-Shabaab from benefiting from illegal maritime trade or piracy."

Kenyan sea forces also played a key role in routing Al-Shabaab from Kismayu, its stronghold on the southern Somalia coast, diplomats noted.

US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said earlier this week in Nairobi that "the US was extremely pleased that Kenya forces joined Amisom and took such decisive action to free large areas of Somalia from Al-Shabaab control."

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