Temporary boost for AU force in Somalia

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The UN Security Council has authorised a temporary boost for the African Union (AU) peacekeeping force in Somalia of over 4 000 troops and an expanded logistic package so it can maintain basic security and respond to the evolving threat from Al-Shabaab insurgents.

In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council extended the deployment of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), created in 2007, until October 31, 2014.

It also requested the AU to increase AMISOM’s force strength from 17 731 to a maximum of 22 126 uniformed personnel and decided to expand the logistic support package provided to the force by the UN.

The Council underlined that the increases in force strength decided in the resolution “are to provide a short-term enhancement of AMISOM’s military capacity” for a period of 18 to 24 months and as part of an overall exit strategy for AMISOM, after which a decrease in the Mission’s force strength will be considered.

Both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the AU recently recommended enhancements for the Mission, including helicopters and other enablers, so it can combat insurgency in the Horn of Africa nation, which is trying to move past decades of fighting and advance peace and development.

In the resolution, the 15-member Council also took note of the Secretary-General’s intention to deploy an appropriate UN Static Guard unit to strengthen security at the compounds of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), which was set up in June to support the Government and the people of the country in their quest for security and prosperity.

The Security Council also agreed with Ban that conditions in the country “are not yet appropriate” for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation and requested him to keep progress against the benchmarks set for such a move under continuous review.

The Council also urged increased collaboration between the AU, UN and the Federal Government of Somalia, “including on a comprehensive approach to peace, security and development which integrates political, security, peacebuilding and development activities, recognising that none can succeed in isolation”.