The African Union (AU) and Somalia have held talks on the likely plans for AU’s support to the country beyond December 2021, officials said on Tuesday.
According to AU’s Acting Director of Conflict Management Directorate, Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Fiona Lortan, she said talks between the two parties would continue into the future with a plan to consolidate the security gains made by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) over the years.
She stated that they have been discussing what will replace AMISOM come January 2022 since the AU mission’s mandate will end this year.
The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution reauthorizing the AMISOM until Dec. 31 and maintaining its overall 19,626 uniformed personnel level ahead of the phased handover of responsibilities to Somali security forces, planned for later in 2021.
The Somali government had earlier rejected AU’s recommendations for a reduction in peacekeeping presence in the country, saying the report and its proposals are devoid of realities.
AMISOM has provided peacekeepers in Somalia since March 2007, primarily to protect the Somali government and help Somali forces dislodge al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants from all its major towns and cities.
Five AU countries – Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti – contribute to the current force of 19,400 soldiers with the mission costing hundreds of millions a year, according to the IPI Global Observatory
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