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The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 595th meeting held in Addis Ababa, on 28 April 2016, adopted the following decision on the situation in Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM):

    

Council,

1.    Takes note of the briefing provided by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, on the situation in Somalia. Council also takes note of the statements made by the representatives of Somalia, and by Ethiopia in its capacity as the Chair of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), as well as by that of the United Nations;

2.    Welcomes the progress being made by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) towards the realization of Vision 2016 and encourages the FGS to intensify efforts aimed at resolving the outstanding issues relating to the electoral model. In this regard, Council further encourages the Somali stakeholders to forge ahead towards the parliamentary and presidential elections in an inclusive manner. Accordingly, Council commends the Somali leadership for reserving 30% of the seats in Parliament for women, thus enhancing the involvement of women in decision-making in furtherance of peace in the country;

3.    Reaffirms AU’s full support to the FGS and reiterates its commitment to continue assisting the FGS in its preparation for elections. Council therefore urges the AU Commission to deploy an electoral observation mission, in order to ensure follow-up and organisation of free, fair, credible and transparent elections in Somalia by August 2016;

4.    Pays tribute to all the AMISOM personnel, as well as to the Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs), namely Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda, for their continued commitment and the sacrifices made thus far. Council re-affirms its resolve  to continue supporting AMISOM uniform and civilian personnel to uphold the highest standard of conduct and discipline in the discharge of their mandate and stresses that, in cases of actual or alleged violations, appropriate measures shall be taken in line with the AU Zero Tolerance Policy against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and other forms of misconduct;

5.    Welcomes the gains made in the consolidation and expansion operations across Somalia through joint operations conducted by AMISOM and Somalia National Army (SNA), and notes with concern that Al Shaabab still retains the capability to conduct asymmetrical operations in Somalia, and continue to be a threat to peace, security and stability in the region. In this respect, Council reiterates its call for the provision and deployment of force enablers and multipliers to bolster AMISOM’s capacity to contain Al Shabaab and ensure effective security for the forthcoming elections;

6.    Recalls the declaration adopted by the AMISOM T/PCCs Summit held in February 2016, in Djibouti, with regard to enhancing AMISOM operations;

7.    Further recalls the pledges made by Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to deploy air assets for AMISOM operations, and notes with satisfaction the progress made in the negotiations with Ethiopia and Kenya in the deployment of the air assets. In this respect, Council requests the Commission to expedite consultations with Uganda concerning the latter’s pledged air assets. Council also expresses concern about the delay in processing the Letters of Assist (LOAs) required to pave way for the acquisition and deployment of the earmarked air assets for AMISOM operations. Council requests the UN Office Support for AMISOM (UNSOA) to expedite the conclusion of negotiations for the LOAs with the Commission and Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda;

8.    Reiterates the primary responsibility of the Somalia National Security Force (SNSF) for eventually taking over security functions in Somalia. In this respect, Council appreciates the ongoing joint operations between AMISOM and SNA, and the training of the SNA by the various actors, all aimed at building the capacity of SNA. Council, however, calls for coordination of these efforts with the leadership of the Commission;
 
9.    Supports the call for multi-sectoral approach in supporting the Somali electoral process and calls for better coordination, as well as more international financial and technical support towards the process;

10.    Decides to renew the mandate of AMISOM until 30 May 2017, bearing in mind paragraph 27 of communiqué (PSC/PR/COMM.1(DLXII)) adopted at its 562nd meeting held on 10 December 2015, as well as the decision of the UN Security Council, as contained in paragraph 3 of resolution 2232(2015) of 28 July 2015, to authorize the Member States of the AU to maintain the deployment of AMISOM until 30 May 2016, for a maximum level of 22,126 uniformed personnel, and as part of an overall exit strategy for AMISOM. In this respect, Council directs the Commission to take all necessary measures for the enhancement of AMISOM’s operational effectiveness, including through the review of the Mission’s Concept of Operations, to better align it with the security environment, as well as with the necessity for renewed offensive operations against Al Shabaab in Somalia;

11.    Regrets once again the decision by the European Union (EU) to cut the AMISOM Troop allowances by 20%. In this respect, Council appeals to the EU to reconsider this decision, taking into account the critical phase in AMISOM operations, within the context of the upcoming elections in Somalia;

12.    Looks forward to the holding of the next meeting of the Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC) planned for 9 May 2016 in Addis Ababa, in order to resolve all outstanding operational issues, including Command and Control, as well as the appointment of the AMISOM Force Commander;

13.    Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.   


Posted by Limi Mohammed

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