Somalia president hails lifting of arms embargo as government vows to wipe out al-Shabab militants

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud welcomed Saturday the U.N. Security Council vote to lift an arms imposed on the Horn of Africa nation more than 30 years ago.

The 15-member council unanimously voted Friday night in favor of the British-drafted resolution to lift the weapons ban. However, France was the only member to abstain when voting on another resolution to reimpose an arms embargo on al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants, saying the resolution lacked references to the territorial disputes between Djibouti and Eritrea.

In a statement sent to the Associated Press, Information Minister Daud Aweis said the embargo lift will help modernize the country's armed forces. "Somalia has been grappling with significant security challenges, including the presence of extremist groups such as al-Shabab. The Somali government needs access to modern arms and equipment to effectively combat these threats and maintain security within its borders,” the statement read.