Wednesday, November 15, 2006

U.N. says Somalia arms embargo violated - Yahoo! News

U.N. says Somalia arms embargo violated - Yahoo! News

NAIROBI, Kenya - Ten nations and Lebanon’s Hezbollah have been supplying weapons to an Islamic militia that controls much of Somalia, violating an international arms embargo, according to a U.N. commission report obtained Wednesday.

But experts and diplomats expressed deep skepticism about an allegation in the report that 720 Somali mercenaries fought alongside Hezbollah in its battle with Israel in July. There were also doubts about the U.N. panel’s findings that Iran shipped arms to the Islamic militants in return for access to uranium mines in the hometown of the top Islamic leader.

The Iranian government, in a letter to the U.N., also strenuously denied shipping weapons to Somalia.

The U.N. panel, charged with monitoring the arms embargo on Somalia, said Ethiopia, Eritrea, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Iran, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Uganda had all supported armed groups inside Somalia.

“At the time of the writing of the present report, there were two Iranians in Dhusa Mareb engaged in matters linked to uranium in exchange for arms,” said the report, which has not been released to the public. Iran also supplied an aircraft to fly 40 Somalis wounded in Lebanon back to Somalia, it added.

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