Top AU official optimistic about new Somalia peacekeeping mission

Following three days of high-level engagements with government officials, civil society members and Somalia’s international partners, the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security has said that the new AU mission will focus on stabilization and state building processes but with a clear end goal in sight.

Ambassador Bankole Adeoye was addressing the media in Mogadishu on Monday at the end of his three-day visit to Somalia.

“ATMIS is 100 percent aligned with the Somalia Transition Plan. This implies that the strategy of the Government of Somalia and (objective of) ATMIS will be aligned. This is the number one factor that will make a difference,” Ambassador Adeoye stated.

The AU and the Federal Government of Somalia have adopted a roadmap to replace the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) with a new mission to be called the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), subject to authorisation by both the AU Peace and Security Council as well as the UN Security Council.

“This time around, Somalia’s plan is actually front and centre of ATMIS, with the full support of the European Union and the whole gamut of the United Nations,” the AU Commissioner added.

He explained that the new mission will be multi-dimensional, with clear timelines focusing on stabilization and state building processes but with a clear end goal in sight.

“ATMIS will have a mobile and agile force that can rapidly degrade, eliminate and decimate terrorists or armed groups that are making life difficult for the good people of Somalia,” he said.

“ATMIS will have a character of a mission with an end goal, and that end goal is to transfer the full responsibilities of security to the federal Government of Somalia.”

On Sunday, Ambassador Adeoye held meetings with the President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmaajo’; the Prime Minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble; the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdisaid Muse Ali and Minister of Defence, Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur.

The top AU official said that the adoption of the Concept of Operations (CONOPs) and the joint proposal in early February for the establishment of a new mission in Somalia by the AU and the Federal Government of Somalia and other key stakeholders was a consultative and exhaustive process guided by a set of principles that included the respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia, national ownership and leadership by the Federal Government of Somalia and adherence to the spirit of political dialogue, inclusivity and reconciliation.

“What I am taking away from here is that the African Union and the Government of Somalia remain within the vision and mission of the African Union to build an integrated, prosperous and peaceful continent,” Ambassador Adeoye said.

During his visit, he also met with representatives of Troop and Police Contributing Countries, to whom he paid tribute for AMISOM’s key achievements in the last 15 years, including the recovery of vast territory from the control of Al-Shabaab and the creation of favourable conditions for state- building and the re-establishment of governance structures through the federal system.