The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), Ambassador Mohammed El-Amine Souef, and the ATMIS Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding on Thursday met with the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, to update him regarding ATMIS support to the ongoing FGS-led offensives against Al Shabaab, the second phase of the ATMIS drawdown and the progress on the joint technical assessment requested by UN Security Council Resolution 2687.
“We spoke about the ongoing offensives, and it was a good opportunity on behalf of the African Union to congratulate the President and the Federal Government of Somalia for the recent and ongoing successful operations in fighting Al Shabaab,” said Ambassador Souef.
Ambassador Souef expressed satisfaction with the progress made in preparation for the planned withdrawal of a further 3,000 ATMIS troops by the end of September. On the joint technical assessment, set up to review the first drawdown of 2,000 troops in June, the team was already on the ground in Somalia and has been engaging various stakeholders.
“Things are progressing smoothly, and we hope that by the end of September, phase two of the drawdown will be concluded. We have the full support of the President,” he added.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud expressed confidence that the agreed timelines would be met.
The President praised ATMIS for the achievements so far, stating that Somalia would not have made as much progress without the fraternal assistance of ATMIS and its predecessor, AMISOM.
He also expressed gratitude for the support provided to Somalia by various partners and appealed for more assistance to equip and help build the capacity of the Somali Security Forces.
Ambassador Souef and the Force Commander also visited the ATMIS Djibouti National Defence Forces (DNDF) Forward Operating Base in Dhusamareb and held discussions with the FOB Commander, Maj. Ali Ibrahim Ali, on troop welfare and preparedness.
They encouraged the troops to remain diligent and committed to providing security for the airport, which facilitates the movement of people and goods and contributes significantly to the socio-economic development of Galmuduug.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).