Appendix 12A. Multilateral arms embargoes
There were 27 mandatory multilateral arms embargoes in force in 2008, directed at a total of 15 targets. Twelve of the embargoes were imposed by the United Nations and 15 by the European Union.
For the second year in a row, the UN Security Council did not impose any new arms embargoes. The UN arms embargo on non-governmental forces in Rwanda was lifted in 2008 and significant amendments were made to the UN arms embargoes on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Iran and Somalia. The UN extended its arms embargoes on al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated individuals and entities, Côte d’Ivoire, non-governmental forces in the DRC, Iran, Liberia, and Somalia.
Nine of the 15 EU embargoes are straightforward implementations of UN arms embargoes. The EU did not impose any new arms embargo in 2008 but it did repeal and replace its arms embargo on the DRC as a result of changes to the UN arms embargo. It also extended its arms embargoes on Côte d’Ivoire, Myanmar and Uzbekistan.
During 2008 UN arms embargoes were explicitly threatened against Georgia and Zimbabwe by at least one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. For only the second time since the end of the cold war, a permanent member vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution proposing the imposition of an arms embargo: China and Russia both vetoed the imposition of a UN arms embargo on Zimbabwe.
Multilateral arms embargoes in force during 2008
United Nations arms embargoes
Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated individuals and entities
Democratic Republic of the Congo (NGF)
Iran (technology related to nuclear weapon delivery systems)
Sierra Leone (NGF)
European Union arms embargoesAl-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated individuals and entities
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Sierra Leone (NGF)
NGF = non-governmental forces.
Dr Paul Holtom (United Kingdom) is the Leader of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
Noel Kelly (Ireland) is Research Assistant with the SIPRI Military Expenditure, Arms Production and Arms Transfers projects.