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AU, Somalia and partners conclude discussions on new AU mission

AU, Somalia and partners conclude discussions on new AU mission

Officials from the African Union (AU), the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and international partners have adopted key documents providing a roadmap for establishing a new mission to replace the current African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). In 2007, the Africa Union peace and Security Council authorised the deployment of African troops. This was mandated by UN Security Council and since then AMISOM troops have had subsequent mandate renewals. The current mandate will end on 31 March 2022. The adoption on Wednesday, marked the conclusion of discussions between the Technical Teams from AU and the FGS to agree on a framework for a new mission which will eventually hand over security responsibilities to the Somali security forces. The text adopted after ten days of deliberations included a draft Concept of Operations (CONOPs), Joint Proposal, and options on Logistics Support. The documents contain details on the mandate, composition, size, structure of the proposed transition mission that will succeed AMISOM. The Director-General in Somalia’s Ministry of Defence, Hassan Said Samanthar, said a committee including officials from the AU, Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), the European Union (EU), and the United Nations (UN) would meet to discuss the documents starting 14 February 2022. The documents will then be submitted to the AU Peace and Security Council and UN Security Council by 7 March for final consideration and adoption by 31 March 2022, paving the way for the new mission. Somalia’s Minister of Defence, Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur, was happy with the discussions and said it was a significant milestone. “We welcome our international partners’ support in the realisation of the full capabilities of the Somali security forces,” said the Minister Nur. He explained that through the support of partners, Somalia gradually take over security responsibilities from the African Union. The Minister said once established, the new Transition Mission will implement the objectives of the Somalia Transition Plan, which is a priority for the FGS. The Chief of Policy Development in the AU Peace Support Operations Division, Zinurine Algahli, noted the importance of capacitating the new AU Transition Mission and the Somali security forces. “We are very mindful of the plan that we have developed for the new mission to support the efforts of the Somali security forces. Both entities need the required support, in terms of logistics and finance, to be able to implement the plan effectively,” Alghali noted. The Head of AMISOM and SRCC, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, noted the documents were mutually developed and were a true reflection of the spirit and letter of the Somalia Transition Plan. “The aspects of operations, institution building, and stabilisation, which are clearly outlined in the Transition plan, have been captured in a manner we all understand,” said Ambassador Madeira. Ambassador Madeira however noted that under a new mandate, degrading Al-Shabaab would require capacitating the Somali security forces and the new AU Mission with force multipliers and enablers. “For that, we need the right type and adequate quantity of enablers for both the Somali security forces and the new mission. We also need multipliers, to be able to support the Somali security forces. Therefore, securing adequate, assured, predictable and multi-year funding for the Mission’s operations and access to suitable equipment is pivotal.” Ambassador Madeira said. The EU Senior Policy Advisor in the Horn of Africa, Charles Stuart, lauded all stakeholders for the commitment and tenacity during the negotiations and pledged the EU to support the transition process. “Be rest assured that the European Union is committed to supporting a comprehensive political and stabilisation process,” he said.  The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Anita Kiki Gbeho, noted that the adopted texts provide clarity and reiterated UN support for the transition process. “We hope that this work that has started will continue and that at the end, we will be able to say we are better able to support the Somali Transition Plan; that there will be clarity about how we all come together in support of ensuring a transition that is possible from AMISOM to ATMIS and from ATMIS to the Government of Somalia,” said Gbeho. Also present at the meeting was the new Deputy Head of AMISOM, Fiona Lortan and representatives from the AMISOM troop-contributing countries including Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.  

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