AU reaches preliminary agreement with Somalia on AMISOM' future
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The federal government of Somalia may have reached a preliminary agreement with the African Union, in what would define the future of the African Union Mission Forces [AMISOM] in the Horn of Africa nation.
AMISOM's mandate is set to expire in March 2022 following a three-month extension in December 2021, but the two sides are negotiating for a possible joint mission with the United Nations in a bid to vanquish Al-Shabaab militants.
Initially, the Somali government insisted that the AU ought to stick with the Somali Transition Plan [STP]. Under this plan, the AU forces are to leave Somalia by the end of 2023 upon full implementation of the STP.
But the African Union has been pushing for a joint mission with the United Nations, a move aimed at reducing operations costs of the force which has been in place since 2007 when Al-Shabaab militants first struct in Somalia.
The African Union on Wednesday confirmed a meeting with the Federal Government of Somalia which was also attended by stakeholders such as the United Nations and the European Union. The latter teams finance almost all AMISOM operations.
"First Somalia Quartet meeting: The Federal Government of Somalia [FGS], the African Union, the European Union, and the UN held a constructive meeting today on post-2021 engagements in Somalia. Quartet Members welcomed AU-FGS principles and modalities for future engagements," AU said.
According to the African Union, the meeting settled a number of issues including but not limited to the future of the STP. Further. the AU indicated that the federal government of Somalia is ready for a negotiated joint mission with the UN
"The meeting agreed on the central role of the Somalia Transition Plan and the need for a timely finalization of consultations on the strategic framework, the concept of operations, the joint report and a logistics support plan for the new Mission," AU added.
The AMISOM force contributing nations include Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti, and Burundi. Once a joint mission is adopted, this will see an increase of troops in the Horn of Africa nation which is struggling with instability.
Al-Shabaab has been a major security threat not only in Somalia but also across the border. The group controls large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia, but the joint operations by the AMISOM and local troops have significantly degraded the militants.