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

Speaking with local media, US Charge chargé d’affaires Shane Dixon affirmed the US government’s continuous support for Somalia, particularly regarding its request.

“The U.S. embassy will support the needs and requests of the Federal Government of Somalia. We have always supported Somalia, and we will continue supporting Somalia even in its request for a delay to the ATMIS withdrawal,” said Shane Dixon, US Charge chargé d’affaires.

“We will continue working closely with them, we will continue working with ATMIS, with or without the withdrawal,” Dixon added.

Last week, Somalia sent an official request for a technical pause to the withdrawal of 3,000 ATMIS troops, which will 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.

“We hold firm in our belief that this technical pause will, in the long run, contribute to the enduring peace, stability, and prosperity of Somalia,” Somalia’s letter to the UN read.

Several troop-contributing countries from the African Union 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 requested anonymity stated that the Somali government had bypassed the appropriate authority in its handling of the matter.

They 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 appropriate authority.

“This letter should have been addressed not to the UN Security Council but to the mandated organ, which is the AU Peace and Security Council. They are the ones who mandated the deployment of ATMIS forces,” an official said.

The official said that the Somali government didn’t make the request on time, stating that it was made just a few weeks before the drawdown without consulting and coordinating with the relevant stakeholders.

Addressing the Somali community living in Minnesota on Sunday, Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre underscored the need for self-reliance following the complete withdrawal of ATMIS forces by next year.

“While ATMIS forces have been our long-standing partners, negotiations have been underway for their redeployment from Somalia. We believe in the capabilities of our local community to fill the void left by ATMIS and the UN. The Somali people are our ATMIS,” he affirmed.

These concerns have arisen at a time when the second phase of the withdrawal of African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops began, with at least 3,000 soldiers set to leave the country by the end of this month.

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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