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The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 782nd meeting held on 27 June 2018 in Nouakchott, Mauritania, adopted the following decision on the Report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on the AU-United Nations (UN) Joint Review of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and renewal of the mandate of AMISOM:

Council,

1.Takes note of the Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the AU-UN Joint Review of AMISOM, as well as of the briefing made by Ambassador Smail Chergui, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security;

2.  Recalls its previous pronouncements on the situation in Somalia and AMISOM, in particular Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DCCLXIX), adopted at its 769th meeting held on 30 April 2018; and Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(DCCLIII), adopted at its 753rd meeting held on 15 February 2018;

3.  Pays tribute to the AMISOM Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs), and in particular to AMISOM personnel who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who sustained injuries in the promotion of peace, security, stability and reconciliation in Somalia;

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

5.  Further reaffirms its endorsement of the Somalia Transition Plan (STP), support to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and appeals to all Somali stakeholders to fully commit themselves towards the effective implementation of the STP. Council emphasizes, once again, that the STP is a realistic and comprehensive document, which forms the basis for channeling collective efforts and undertaking further planning to make progress towards the take-over of primary security responsibilities by the FGS. In this context, Council stresses that the implementation of the STP is dependent on addressing the challenges raised by the Operational Readiness Assessment (ORA) of Somali National Security Forces (SNSF), regional forces, completion of discussions on Somali troop generation, training, integration of regional forces to guarantee their contribution, accommodation, equipment and logistical support for the tasks related to the transition;

6.  Commends the FGS for its continued commitment to the Transition, the recent steps it has taken to improve the administration and management of the SNSF, and welcomes the recent agreements reached during the 7th National Security Council meeting on political and security matters;

7.  Commends the AU Commission for the successful conduct of the AU-UN Joint Review of AMISOM, and further commends the FGS, the UN, T/PCCs and bilateral partners for their commitment and cooperation extended to the AU-UN Joint Review Team;

8.  Acknowledges the considerable progress made to secure peace and stability in Somalia, and stresses that due to the fragility of the political and security situation, this progress faces the risk of being reversed. Council notes that, the slow pace of national reconciliation, pending finalization of the constitution to ensure consensus among Somali stakeholders on the nature of a federal Somalia, comprehensive implementation of the National Security Architecture, continued tensions around the state formation processes, as well as external interference, present risks to progress so far achieved;

9.  Expresses serious concern over Al-Shabaab’s ability to carry out deadly terrorist attacks against innocent civilians, Somali security forces and AMISOM. Council also recognizes with serious concern that, beyond the threat posed by Al-Shabaab, there is continuing regional and clan divisions, coupled with the proliferation of arms and the presence of Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) in Puntland and south central Somalia which present sources of continued insecurity in the country;  

10.  Welcomes the findings and observations of the 4th AU-UN Joint Review of AMISOM particularly the political determination of the FGS to assume primary security responsibilities from AMISOM;

11.  Reiterates AMISOM’s significant role in providing support to the political and stabilisation processes in Somalia, and calls on the UN, consistent with the ‘Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhancing Partnership on Peace and Security’ and the Report of the Special Envoys on AMISOM Financing to establish effective cooperation and coordination mechanisms to enhance the political engagement of both organizations in Somalia;

12.  Expresses concern over the slow progress in addressing the gaps identified during the ORA of Somali National Army (SNA) and notes also that, despite the international support rendered to the SNSF, they lack the capacity to take over primary security responsibility in the short to the medium term. In this respect, Council urges the FGS to take bold steps to implement its National Security Architecture;

13.  Endorses the recommendations in the Report of the Chairperson on the Joint Review, and emphasizes that the reconfiguration of AMISOM should be consistent with the implementation of the Somalia Transition Plan, including the gradual formation of multinational sectors and sector headquarters to enhance command and control and inter-operability. Council also underlines the need to avoid any security vacuum that could undermine the gains made so far in Somalia. Council therefore stresses the need to put on hold the October 2018 reduction of 1,000 military personnel until the implementation of the pilot phase expected by December 2018/Feb 2019 in order to enable AMISOM to reconfigure itself to effectively channel its support to the FGS while avoiding the creation of gaps in other key locations;

14.  Calls for accelerated efforts by the UN, the larger international community and T/PCCs to urgently support the FGS in building the capacity of its National Security Forces and institutions. Council further calls for an expanded training and mentoring role for AMISOM Military and Police Components, to rapidly generate the required SNSF personnel to implement the STP and stresses the need for greater coordination and coherence amongst key stakeholders to support the building of a capable and inclusive Somalia security sector;

15.  Emphasizes that AMISOM reconfiguration should include the expansion of its civilian component to specific and key locations across AMISOM’s area of operation to carry out their substantive work, provide guidance and support to military operations;

16.  Requests the Commission to work closely with the UN to undertake, within the next three months, a comprehensive review of AMISOM multidimensional capacities and capabilities. The review will identify additional capacities needed to support the implementation of the STP and to provide the baseline for an AMISOM reconfiguration, including any troop reductions. In this regard, Council underscores that the review will also inform requests for additional capacities, as well as enabling capabilities to support AMISOM’s role and will also provide the basis for the supply of utility and attack helicopters required to support AMISOM operations;

17.  Underscores the imperative of expediting the generation of outstanding force enablers and multipliers, in particular air assets to enhance mobility, resupply, rapid reaction, quick attack combat capability and the implementation of other mandated tasks, as well as the deployment of outstanding Mission Enabling Units and counter-IED capabilities needed to enhance AMISOM’s support and protection in clearing priority Main Supply Routes;

18.  Welcomes the progress made on the implementation of the recommendations annexed to the 2017 Report of the AU-UN Joint Review on the enhancement of AMISOM’s compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights. Council notes that the anticipated joint operations during the transition with or using regional forces that are not trained in IHL and human rights, may increase the risk of violations of human rights and IHL by these forces. Council calls for the enhancement of AMISOM’s IHL and human rights capacity to support the strengthening of measures for the Somali security forces to guarantee compliance and accountability of SNSF, whilst also continuing to ensure progress on AMISOM’s compliance and accountability;

19.  Stresses the need for the enhancement of the United Nations Support Office to Somalia (UNSOS) in line with AMISOM’s reconfiguration and mandated tasks.  Council also requests the review of the AMISOM support concept to address existing gaps and to enhance AMISOM’s role in supporting the implementation of the STP. In this regard, Council requests UNSOS to provide a support package for the SNSF, which is inclusive of the Somali Police Force and regional forces contributing to STP implementation;

20.  Emphasizes that the continued presence of AMISOM in Somalia and the implementation of a viable STP, necessitates the securing of predictable and sustainable funding for AMISOM and the Somali security institutions. Council looks forward to the outcomes and next steps following the UNSC’s consideration of the Report of the AU and UN Special Envoys on AMISOM Financing;

21.  Decides to mandate AMISOM, in addition to the four tasks highlighted in the 700th Communiqué of the PSC, to undertake the mentioned tasks as outlined in Phase 1 of the STP, expand its political and stabilization role into all sectors, including ensuring IHL and human rights compliance and accountability, progressive training and mentoring of Somali National Army, Somali Police Force and Darwish forces required to successfully implement the STP, and calls on the Troop/Police Contributing Countries and UNSOS to provide resources as appropriate;

22.  Further decides to renew the mandate of AMISOM up to 27 May 2019, and calls for the development of a new AMISOM Concept of Operations (CONOPs) aligned to support the implementation of the STP and concurrent activities. In this context, council Calls for a technical assessment of the implementation of the STP to be carried out within six months, in addition to a Joint Review prior to the expiry of the mandate, to assess progress achieved on the implementation of the STP, the state and effectiveness of AMISOM reconfiguration and its support to the transition process and any further reconfiguration and alignment as appropriate;

23.  Requests the Chairperson of the Commission to transmit this Communiqué to the African Members of the UN Security Council (A3), as well as to the Secretary General of the United Nations, to be circulated as a working document to the members of the Security Council and other actions as appropriate;

24.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.

Posted by Abraham Kebede

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