Strict Implementation of 1977 Arms Embargo against South Africa Asked by Council

UN Chronicle, February 1987 | Go to article overview

Strict Implementation of 1977 Arms Embargo against South Africa Asked by Council


The Security Council on 28 November asked States to implement strictly its 1977 mandatory arms embargo against South Africa and urged them to ensure that components of items included in that embargo did not reach the South African military establishment and police through third countries.

States were also asked to refrain from any co-operation in the nuclear field with South Africa which would contribute to the manufacture and development by that country of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.

The Council acted by adopting by consensus resolution 591 (1986), the text of which had been recommended by its Committee on sanctions against South Africa, formally known as the "Security Council Committee established by resolution 421 (1977) concerning the question of South Africa".

(The Council imposed the mandatory arms embargo against South Africa in its resolution 418 of 4 November 1977. Under resolution 421 of 9 December 1977, the Council established a committee consisting of all Council members to study ways by which that embargo could be made more effective and to make recommendations to the Council.)

In resolution 591, States were called on to prohibit the export of spare parts for embargoed aircraft and other military equipment belonging to South Africa and any official involvement in the maintenance and service of such equipment.

States were also urged to ban export to South Africa of items which they had reason to believe were destined for its military and/or police forces, which had a military capacity and which were intended for military purposes - aircraft, aircraft engines, aircraft parts, electronic and telecommunication equipment, computers and four-wheel drive vehicles,

The Council asked States to ensure that their national legislation or comparable policy directives guaranteed that specific provisions to implement resolution 418 included penalties to deter vilolations. States were also asked to adopt measures to investigate violations, prevent future circumventions and strengthen their machinery for the implementation of resolution 418 with a view to the effective monitoring and verification of transfers of arms and other equipment in violation of the arms embargo.

The embargo should, the Council stated, include - in addition to all nuclear, strategic and conventional weapons - all military, paramilitary police vehicles and equipment, "as well as weapons and ammunitions, spare parts and supplies for the aforementioned and the sale or transfer thereof". It renewed its request to States to refrain from importing arms, ammunition of all types and military vehicles produced in South Africa.

States were called upon to prohibit the import or entry of all South African armaments for display in international fairs and exhibitions under their jurisdiction; to end exchanges as well as visits and exchanges of visits by government personnel, when such visits and exchanges maintained or increased South Africa's military or police capabilities; and to refrain from participating in any activities; in South Africa which they had reason to believe might contribute to Pretoria's military capability. …

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