France supports withdrawal of 2,000 ATMIS troops to make transition possible by June

France has voted in favor of a UN draft resolution in response to a request by the Somali Federal Government.

The UN Secuirity Council has delayed the African Union’s gradual withdrawal for an exceptional six-month extension to implement the withdrawal of 2,000 ATMIS troops.

“We count on Somalia, the African Union, and ATMIS to complete this withdrawal by June 30, 2023, with the support of the international community,” said Mrs. Nathalie Broadhurst, the Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations.

The council is now working to achieve the other objectives that were set by Resolution 2628.

The resolution adopted in March endorsed a previous decision it made with the African Union to reconfigure the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) into the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, underscoring the need to continue countering al-Shabaab and expressed hope that the Government of Somalia will gradually assume greater security responsibilities going forward.

The resolution encompasses the Council’s expectations for the Government of Somalia relating to facilitating the electoral process and assuming responsibility for national security.

Other compelling commitments made by the Security Council during passing of the resolution included the need to counter al-Shabaab; the reconfiguration of AMISOM into the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia; the role of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), as well drawing up for international financial support.

Through the resolution, the Council endorsed the decision it made with the African Union Peace and Security Council to reconfigure AMISOM into the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia and authorized for an initial period of 12 months.

African Union Member States are expected to take all necessary measures to aid the troops in reducing the threat posed by al-Shabaab.

The union with 19000 soldiers in the country have been providing support to enhance capacity-building of the integrated Somali security and police forces.

Since the end of AMISOM in March, soldiers serving in the mission have been conducting a phased handover of security responsibilities to Somali soldiers and support peace and reconciliation efforts in the country.

Mrs. Broadhurst said the mission must begin its restructuring, to strengthen its operational support to the Somali forces and their build-up.

France also want the ATMIS mission show that transition is possible in Somalia, to maintain confidence and to maintain the support of the international community.

The Quartet, which is composed of the UN, the African Union, Somalia and the European Union, adopted objectives to this aim in September.

The UN Security Council meeting will next year March convene a forum assessing opportunity  taking stock on the trajectory of ATMIS’ withdrawal and the achievement of these objectives.

The European Union has demonstrated it was a reliable partner to Somalia and the African Union, providing nearly 3 billion Euros to AMISOM and then ATMIS over the past 15 years.

France called on other partners of Mogadishu to contribute as well, “particularly to finance the postponement of Phase 1 of the troop withdrawal.”

The European Union’s support is primarily aimed at building the capacities of the Somali forces and thus supporting the objectives of the Somali transition plan.

Mrs. Nathalie Broadhurst reiterated that the implementation of the mission’s withdrawal plan remains essential for strategic decisions on the AU mission and for their follow-up.

ATMIS previously referred to us the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has continued to register progress in implementing its mandate, guided by the transition plan.

The Somalia Transition Plan is a comprehensive guide developed by the Federal Government of Somalia and its partners to the transfer of security responsibility to Somali National Security Forces ahead of ATMIS’s anticipated exit from the country.

Even as they prepare to leave Somalia,  AU troops in the country are tasked with helping secure the gains made over the fifteen-years since AMISOM first deployed in Somalia.

With security agencies doubling efforts dedicated to the transition plan, it is envisioned Somali Security Forces will be ready to fully take over security responsibilities of the country from Africa Union Peacekeepers.

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