Wednesday, July 24, 2024

AU endorses new peace keeping mission for post-ATMIS Somalia

In a bid to enhance security and stability in Somalia, the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) endorsed the deployment of a new AU-led mission on Friday (June 20) during its 1217th meeting held in Addis Ababa.

This new mission, set to replace the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) upon the termination of its mandate in December 2024, aims to support the Federal Government of Somalia in its efforts to degrade Al-Shabaab, provide security, and facilitate state-building priorities. The decision marks a significant step in the AU’s ongoing commitment to peace and stability in the region.

The African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) has been engaged in post-African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) security arrangements since April of this year. It has instructed the AU Commission to conduct a field visit to Somalia and present a report encompassing the political, economic, and security situation in Somalia, as well as options for a post-ATMIS security arrangement.

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The “Joint Strategic Assessment for the Post-ATMIS Security Arrangement for an AU-Led Mission in Somalia” was prepared by the Commission following a visit to Somalia last May. During its 1217th meeting, the Council welcomed the report and its findings, acknowledging the progress made since the deployment of AMISOM in 2007 and its reconfiguration to ATMIS in 2022 in fighting Al-Shabaab and in state-building activities in Somalia.

The Council considered different options presented by the Commission regarding the establishment of a new force to replace ATMIS upon the termination of its mandate in December 2024. Accordingly, the Council endorsed the establishment of a new AU-led and UN-authorized mission to support the Federal Government of Somalia in degrading Al-Shabaab, providing security, and enabling state-building priorities.

The new mission will focus on supporting the Federal Government of Somalia, engaging in counter-terrorism operations, and ensuring a smooth transition of security responsibilities to Somali forces. The Council also emphasized the need for clear communication, command and control structures, and regular information sharing. It further tasked the AU Commission with developing a Concept of Operations (CONOPs) that outlines the size, scope, and mandate of the new mission to ensure a smooth transition upon the exit of ATMIS.

The Council stressed the importance of predictable and sustainable funding for the new mission and endorsed the proposal for the new force to be financed by the UN-assessed contribution as per resolution and a multi-partner trust fund.

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The decision to continue supporting Somalia by establishing a new mission is an important step to safeguard the gains made in fighting Al-Shabaab. It is also vital to ensure a smooth security transition in Somalia and address the regional threat posed by Al-Shabaab and other terrorist outfits. Hence, the PSC’s decision is a commendable step towards the stability of Somalia and the region at large.

However, it is important to note that the close involvement of stakeholders, mainly the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs), in the post-ATMIS arrangement is critical. The practical experiences of the TCCs in counterterrorism operations are vital to maintaining the hard-won gains made so far and further degrading the fighting capability of Al-Shabaab.

As a nation that has faced the persistent threats of Al-Shabaab and has made significant sacrifices through the deployment of Ethiopian troops under AMISOM and ATMIS, Ethiopia fully supports the Council’s decision to address the threat posed by Al-Shabaab. Ethiopia also endorses the necessity of a coordinated and robust counter-terrorism strategy to effectively combat this terrorist group.

 (MoFA)

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