African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) – Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) delegation briefs European Union (EU) officials on Somalia security in Brussels meeting

African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) – Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) delegation briefs European Union (EU) officials on Somalia security in Brussels meeting

African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) - Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) delegation briefs European Union (EU) officials on Somalia security in Brussels meeting

African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) - Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) delegation briefs European Union (EU) officials on Somalia security in Brussels meeting

The Head of the African Union peace mission in Somalia, Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef and the Somalia National Security Advisor Hussein Mahmoud Sheikh Ali, held a series of meetings with senior officials of the European Union (EU) in Brussels to brief them on efforts to build lasting peace and security in the Horn of Africa country.

The two officials led a joint delegation from ATMIS and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) on a three-day visit, last week, to the European Commission in Brussels to discuss the progress and challenges of implementing the EU-backed Somalia Transition Plan.

They outlined how Somalia has made significant strides in peace and security, arms control, the fight against terrorism, the promotion of human rights, and national transformation and governance.

Of key importance, they said, was the commitment by the Federal Government of Somalia to promote reconciliation, stabilization, judicial reforms, and ensure citizen participation in elections under universal adult suffrage.

The delegation also briefed the EU officials on the offensive operations against the Al-Shabaab terrorist group, the upcoming drawdown of troops serving with the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and its complete exit by December 2024.

“We are talking about handing over security responsibilities to Somalis and taking over from ATMIS. This process will be in phases because we don’t want a catastrophic exit. We want things to go smoothly,” said Amb. Souef adding: “the plan is ongoing, by June, we will withdraw 2,000. The objective is for ATMIS to exit Somalia by December 2024.”

“This requires effort and coordination, not just between the FGS and ATMIS, but also with other partners such as the EU and UN. The EU provides financial support for this mission. We are grateful and thank the member states and the Commission for this generosity to support peace and security in Somalia and Africa at large,” said Amb. Souef.

Somalia’s security chief Hussein Sheikh Ali noted that with the support of the African Union troops, the Somali Security Forces have made considerable progress to secure the country and built adequate capacity to conduct offensive operations. Amb. Souef confirmed the country was on course to meet the exit date in line with UN Security Council resolutions 2628 and 2670.

“We have 18 months to defeat Al-Shabaab and complete the ATMIS drawdown. Overall, we are on track to transition from ATMIS to Somali Security Forces,” he said noting that, “for Somalia to achieve that, we are reforming and rebuilding our security forces – the military, police, intelligence services and the custodial corps. These are the four security apparatus that are constitutionally accepted, and we are reforming them under the National Security Architecture, which is a political agreement on security,” said the National Security Advisor.

The delegation also held meetings with officials from the Council of EU-Africa Working Party, the Managing Director of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Rita Laranjinha, officials from the Military Planning Conduct and Capability (MPCC) and the Director of the Integrated Security Policy (ISP), Cosmin Dobran.

They later briefed representatives of Mozambique, Gabon, and Ghana who are the non-permanent representatives of Africa on the UN Security Council and met diplomats representing ATMIS troop contributing countries.

The delegation included the Somalia Ambassador to Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg and the Head of Mission to the EU, Yonis Hashi and Abdihakim Mohamed Yusuf. The AU officials included Ambassador Awad Sakine Ahmat and ATMIS Head of Political Affairs, Babatunde Taiwo.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).