The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 30 July extended the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) for another ten months, and agreed to reduce personnel to 20 626 by 28 February 2019.
The UNSC, in approving resolution 2431 (2018) cautioned against any further delay in lowering troop numbers beyond February 2019.
The Council also authorized the Mission to deploy a minimum 1,040 police personnel until 31 May 2019 and, setting out strategic objectives, to enable the gradual handover of security responsibilities to Somali security forces — contingent on their abilities, as well as progress on the political and security front — by December 2021.
Among Amisom’s priority tasks is to reduce the threat posed by Al?Shabaab and other armed groups, including through targeted offensive operations, and to support Somali security forces during the ongoing political process.
Authorizing a reconfiguration of the Mission in favour of police personnel, the Council requested the African Union to submit a detailed plan, no later than 15 November, for reducing uniformed personnel, and along with the United Nations, to conduct a joint operational readiness assessment by 15 September to identify capacities and requirements within the authorized troop ceiling.
The Council went on to stress that Amisom’s civilian component should focus on supporting the Mission’s eventual drawdown, in line with the transition plan and the ultimate aim of Somali security forces taking the lead for security responsibility by December 2021. Welcoming the Secretary?General’s plans for a technical review of the Mission by 31 January 2019, the Council reiterated its call for additional funding and technical assistance from new and existing donors.
Tekeda Alemu (Ethiopia), underscoring Amisom’s indispensable role, thanked Council members for their flexibility and compromise in reaching a consensus. Emphasizing that much remains to be done in terms of post?conflict recovery and peacebuilding, he welcomed the resolution’s emphasis on the Mission’s civilian component, and stressed the importance of enhanced cooperation to better support an inclusive political process. He also welcomed its focus on the need to comprehensively assess the Mission and make recommendations on the gradual transition of security responsibilities to Somali authorities. Hopefully, he said, all decisions regarding the transition will be based on a close examination of the situation on the ground.
Abukar Dahir Osman (Somalia) welcomed the resolution’s focus on Somalia’s efforts to assume responsibility for its own security. Welcoming the latest developments in the protracted conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, he said Somalia will spare no effort in working towards a peaceful and prosperous future for the Horn of Africa region. Partnership will be crucial, particularly with donor and troop?contributing countries, in building a professional and inclusive security sector that enables Somalis to live free from the threat of Al?Shabaab.