Addis Ababa(Mogadishu24)-The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) has endorsed a phased approach to the drawdown of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops, following a request by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS). This decision was reached during the PSC’s 1217th meeting, where the council reviewed the report on the post-ATMIS security arrangements for an AU-led mission in Somalia.

The PSC acknowledged the progress made in Somalia since the deployment of AMISOM in 2007 and its transition to ATMIS in 2022. The council praised the Somali government for its efforts to stabilize the country and noted the significant sacrifices made by ATMIS personnel in combating terrorism.

“We commend the Federal Government of Somalia and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud for their continued efforts and support towards ATMIS and the AU Commission,” the PSC stated.

The AU emphasized the importance of maintaining Somalia’s unity and sovereignty and expressed solidarity with the Somali people in their pursuit of lasting peace and stability. The council highlighted the need for ongoing support from international partners to ensure a smooth transition from ATMIS to a new AU-led mission.

“The phased approach to the drawdown of ATMIS, dividing the withdrawal into two tranches of 2000 troops each by June and September 2024, aims to prevent security gaps and support the Somali security forces in assuming full security responsibilities,” the PSC noted.

The PSC also expressed concern over the potential for increased terrorist activity due to the simultaneous drawdown and ongoing offensive operations against Al-Shabaab. The council stressed the importance of building the capacity of Somali security forces to maintain stability and prevent terrorist resurgence.

“The withdrawal of ATMIS troops must be carefully harmonized with the new mission to ensure no security gaps and continued support for Somalia’s stabilization efforts,” the council added.

The AU reiterated the need for predictable and sustainable funding for the post-ATMIS mission, urging the United Nations and other international partners to support this transition. The council called for the establishment of a dedicated funding mechanism to ensure the financial stability of the new mission.

“We request the AU Commission to develop a Concept of Operations for the new mission by the end of July 2024, ensuring it aligns with Somalia’s political and security realities,” the PSC directed.

The council reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Somalia’s journey towards peace and stability, emphasizing the role of the new AU-led mission in facilitating post-conflict reconstruction and development. The PSC resolved to keep the matter under active review and continue to provide updates on the implementation of the new mission.

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