Somalia calls for end to UN arms embargo


NEW YORK - Somalia's foreign minister is telling the U.N. General Assembly that his young government has made significant strides in fighting violent al-Shabab militants, and called on the world body to lift its long-standing arms embargo.

Ahmed Awad Issa says young people are no longer joining al-Shabab as they used to because "that ideology is no longer popular."

In his address on Saturday, Issa said the Somali government has been engaging with religious leaders, young people, the elderly and women to "turn the tide against the twisted ideology of hate and religious intolerance."

Issa also notes that many, including some of the militant group's senior commanders, have taken the government's amnesty offer and surrendered peacefully.

He said lifting the arms embargo would level the field in Somalia's battle with extremist groups. He noted that "stronger fighting capacity would enable us to have the upper hand."

Al-Shabab is trying to establish an Islamic state in Somalia and is the deadliest Islamic extremist group in sub-Saharan Africa.

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