Djibouti(Mogadishu24)-The Republic of Djibouti has affirmed its support for Somalia’s request for a ‘technical pause’ to delay the withdrawal of African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops for 90 days.

In an exclusive interview with TRT’s Adesewa Josh, President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti reaffirmed Djibouti’s support for the request to prevent any resurgence of Al-Shabaab militants in the country after ATMIS withdrawal.

“These coming months are crucial; otherwise, we will see the repetition of Afghanistan when American troops withdrew from the country without preparing. So the hope of the people will be put down,” President Guelleh stated.

“We need to have at least three months to accept that the African troops should go home,” he added.

President Guelleh also discussed other key issues in the region, particularly highlighting Sudan’s mediation efforts as the chair of IGAD.

He stated that the involvement of many partners and actors has escalated the crisis in Sudan, and making the dialogue process challenging.

“The situation in Sudan is very sensitive problem and very difficult to approach because of the involvement of so many partners and so many actors and Sudan now is in a very bad shape,” the president said.

“We are looking to resolving this problem by dialogue not by force; without dialogue, there is no peace, no understanding and there is no way to achieve our goals and see the peace for the sake of the people,” he added.

The President also addressed the impact of the Ethiopian Dam on the longstanding relationship between Ethiopia and Egypt, stating that Djibouti is not aware of any harm caused to Egypt by the filling of the Ethiopian dam.

Djibouti’s support for this request comes a week after the United States pledged its support.

Two weeks ago, Somalia officially requested a technical pause in the withdrawal of 3,000 ATMIS soldiers, which would delay the process for 90 days.

The federal government made the request amid a surge in Al-Shabaab attacks, including the attack on the Osweyne military base and Run Nirgod, which killed several soldiers.

Several ATMIS troops have raised grave concerns and dissatisfaction with the way the Somali government has handled the drawdown and its request for a “technical pause” in the troop withdrawal process.

ATMIS officials who preferred anonymity claimed that the request for a “technical pause” should have been addressed to the AU Peace and Security Council, the body responsible for the deployment of AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces. Instead, it was directed to the UN Security Council, which the officials viewed as bypassing the relevant authority.

The first phase of the drawdown saw the withdrawal of more than 3,000 soldiers from Somalia, and this second phase is the final step in the drawdown process, facilitating the complete withdrawal of the remaining ATMIS troops.

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