The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 700th meeting held on 12 July 2017, adopted the following decision on the Report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on AU-United Nations (UN) Joint Review on the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), renewal of the mandate of AMISOM and on the Report on the Ten-Year Lessons Learned on AMISOM:

1.    Takes note of the Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the AU-UN Joint Review on AMISOM and the Report on the Ten-Year AU Lessons Learned on AMISOM, as well as the statement made by Ambassador Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security, and the briefing by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission in Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Francisco Madeira. Council also takes note of the statements made by the representatives of Ethiopia, in its capacity as Chair of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Italy, as co-Chair of IGAD Partner Forum, United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), League of Arab States, as well as UN Security Council (UNSC) Permanent Members namely China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States of America ;

2.    Recalls its previous pronouncements on the situation in Somalia and AMISOM, including Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DCLXXXIV) adopted at its 684th meeting held on 28 April 2017; Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DCXLIX) adopted at its 649th meeting held on 16 January 2017; Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM (DCXXII) adopted at its 622nd meeting held on 6 September 2016; Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM (DCVIII) adopted at its 608th meeting held on 29 June 2016; and Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.2(DXCV) adopted at its 595th meeting held on 28 April 2016;

3.    Further recalls paragaph 11 of the communiqué of its 622nd meeting held on 6 September 2016, requesting the Commission to conduct a comprehensive lessons learned exercise which will identify progress made, challenges encountered and more importantly recommendations on the way forward in the future of AMISOM, including the Mission exit strategy. Council also recalls paragraph 10 of the communiqué of its 684th meeting held on 28 April 2017, underscoring the importance of the conduct of an AU-UN Joint Strategic Review on AMISOM, in defining the future of AMISOM presence in Somalia, and noting that the review will provide an opportunity to review and define tasks, as well as options for the reconfiguration of AMISOM;

4.    Commends the Commission for the successful conduct of the Ten-Year Lessons Learned study on AMISOM, as well as the AU-UN Joint Review on AMISOM. Council further commends the Federal Government of Somalia, the UN, Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs) and bilateral partners for their commitments and cooperation extended to the AU-UN Joint Review Team prior to, and during the conduct of both exercises;

5.    Reiterates the main outcomes of the meeting of AMISOM’s T/PCCs, in the margins of the 29th Ordinary Session of AU Assembly, held on 3 July 2017, which, inter alia, requested the Commission, to establish a Committee of Experts to develop a Joint AU/ T/PCCs Exit Strategy. Council underscores that the development of such an exit strategy, is complementary and should build on the outcomes of the Ten Year Lessons Learned Exercise and the AU-UN Joint Review. In this respect, Council stresses the importance of an AMISOM transition plan that is based on a realistic timeframe and the attainment of the key security conditions suggested by the AU-UN Joint review, in order to ensure a sustained progress in the political and economic developments in Somalia;

6.    Endorses the Report of the AMISOM Ten Year Lessons Learned, in particular its main conclusion that AMISOM has been successful in the implementation of its mandate including through the facilitation of an enabling environment for two political transitions in Somalia. In this regard, Council further recognizes that AMISOM remains an indispensable partner for peace in Somalia but needs to be properly reconfigured to support the next phase of state building in Somalia during the course of the implementation of the transitional plan;

7.    Pays tribute to the heavy sacrifices made by AMISOM T/PCCs, especially those that have paid the ultimate price for the promotion of peace, security, stability and reconciliation in Somalia. Council renews AMISOM’s commitment to support the Federal Government of Somalia and interim member states in accordance with the highest professional standards mindful of AU’s Zero’s Tolerance Policy against all forms of misconduct and abuse;

8.    Reiterates its gratitude to the UN, the EU and other bilateral partners in supporting AMISOM operations against Al Shabaab, as well as their financial and material support to AMISOM and the Federal Government of Somalia;

9.    Commends the Federal Government of Somalia for its commitment to fostering sustainable peace in Somalia. In this respect, Council welcomes the leadership of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed in promoting an inclusive political dialogue between the federal government and the interim federal states through the rapid formation of the National Security Council, as well as in the commencement of the implementation of the 17 April 2017 agreement on the National Security Architecture as reflected in the Communiqué of the National Security Council following its meeting in Mogadishu, from 5 to 10 July 2017. Council reiterates its commitment to continue supporting the Federal Government of Somalia in achieving its security and political milestones and urges the Federal Government of Somalia to spare no effort in the protection of civilians, the promotion of respect for human rights and the advancement of sustainable peace and economic growth in Somalia;

10.    Takes note with serious concern  that that Al-Shabaab terrorist group continues to represent a threat to peace, security and stability in Somalia, to the region and, to the wider international community;  

11.    Welcomes the findings of the AU-UN Joint Review especially the political determination of the Federal Government of Somalia to assume primarily security responsibilities from AMISOM, based on a responsible, viable and realistic transition plan;

12.    Endorses the recommendations made by the AU-UN Joint Review on a gradual and phased reduction and reorganization of AMISOM’s uniformed personnel aimed at providing a greater support role, with Somali National Security Forces progressively taking the lead in undertaking security tasks in the country. In this respect, Council underlines the need to avoid any security vacuum that could undermine the hard won gains made so far in Somalia;

13.    Decides to renew the mandate of AMISOM for 12 months, until 31 July 2018, based on the following revised  core tasks:

a.    Continue to support political dialogue and reconciliation in Somalia;

b.    Protect main population centers and the presence of international actors, securing and enabling political processes, reconciliation, maintenance of law and order, early recovery and public safety, while prudently mentoring Somali security entities in implementing a transfer of responsibilities to Somali National Security Force (SNSF);

c.    Contribute to securing the main supply routes beginning with those linking main population centers through joint operations with Somali forces;

d.    Conduct targeted operations against Al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups, jointly with Somali forces, continue mentoring during combat operations and provide operational support to Somali forces;

e.    Support capacity building at various levels of SNSF, in line with the National Security Architecture and in full coordination with UN and other relevant partners;

f.    Facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and support to early recovery and extension of state authority, within available resources of the Mission.

14.    Requests the Commission to work closely with the Federal Government of Somalia, the T/PCCs, the UN and other relevant international partners, to revise the AMISOM’s Concept of Operations, in light of the proposed revised mandate, an updated threat assessment, a review of the Mission’s operational requirements and a revised transition plan based on the time period from 2017 to 2021, in line with the request by the Federal Government of Somalia and the recommendations made by the AU-UN Joint Review. In this regard, Council underscores the imperative of addressing current AMISOM capabilities gaps through the generation of additional enablers and force multiplier, in order to enhance the Mission’s operational effectiveness;

15.    Further requests the Commission and AMISOM to work closely with the Federal Government of Somalia and the UN to ensure the urgent completion of the ongoing joint physical verification, to be submitted to Council, of Somalia National Army and Somalia Police Force, across all sectors of operations, to allow for the identification of critical capabilities gaps that should be addressed in order to ensure effective joint operations as part of the overall capacity building of the Somali national security institutions;

16.    Expresses concern at the lack of coordination and coherence in the support to the building of a capable and inclusive Somalia security sector, which could delay the progress required in facilitating effective assumption of full responsibility by the Somalia national security institutions from AMISOM. Council stresses the need for partners to work closely with the Somali authorities and AMISOM in ensuring enhanced coordination of support including in the conduct of bilateral capacity building initiatives and offensive operations. Council welcomes the establishment of the Somalia-African Union Taskforce as a credible coordination mechanism for support to the enhancement of the Somali security sector;

17.    Further stresses the need for a responsive, effective, efficient and responsible field support platform as a strategic enabler to AMISOM operations. In this regard, Council requests the United Nations Support Office to Somalia (UNSOS) to continue to enhance its delivery of support package to AMISOM, taking into account the need to reinforce the role of the AU Special Representative and Head of AMISOM to this effect, in line with the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between the AU and UN on the provision of support to AMISOM;

18.    Emphasizes that the continued presence of AMISOM in Somalia and the implementation of a viable transition necessitates the securing of predictable and sustainable funding for AMISOM and Somali security institutions. Council takes note of steps taken by the Commission in addressing current resource gaps and requests the Commission to enhance engagements with the UN Secretary General and other partners, at the required level, in securing predictable and sustainable funding for AMISOM, including through the utilization of UN Assessed contributions for the payment of stipends for AMISOM uniformed personnel, and bearing in mind the successes made by the Mission, the transition time-frame proposed by the AU-UN Joint Review and, the reality that AMISOM represents an exemplary AU-UN strategic and operational partnership  in the implementation of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter and in the spirit of the UN-AU Joint Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, signed on 19 April 2017;

19.    Urges the UNSC to consider, at the earliest possible timeframe, the report of the AU-UN Joint Review and to endorse its recommendations, in order to pave the way for its speedy and effective implementation, taking into consideration the need to avoid a security vacuum in Somalia and the region, enhance coordination efforts and ensure predictable funding for AMISOM;

20.    Requests the Commission to transmit this Communiqué, the Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the AU-UN Joint Review of AMISOM and the Report on the Ten Year Lessons Learned on AMISOM to the UN Secretary-General for onward transmission to the UNSC for its action, as appropriate;

21.    Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by Abraham Belayneh
Last updated by Limi Mohammed

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