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The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 649th meeting held on 16 January 2017, considered the Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the situation in Somalia and the implementation of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) mandate and adopted the following decision:

Council,

1.    Takes note of the Report of the Chairperson of the Commission and the briefing made by the Commissioner for Peace and Security on the situation in Somalia and implementation of the AMISOM mandate. Council also takes note of the statements made by the representatives of Somalia, and Ethiopia, as Chair of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and as African Member of the UNSC, as well as by the representatives of Egypt, China, France, United Kingdom, United States of America, the European Union and the United Nations;

2.    Recalls its previous decisions on the situation in Somalia and AMISOM, including 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.    Expresses satisfaction with the progress made by the Federal Government of Somalia in the electoral process in Somalia. In this respect, Council welcomes the establishment of a Bicameral Assembly composed of Upper and Lower Houses, as well as the re-election on 11 January 2017, of Mohamed Sheihk Osman Jawaari as the Speaker of the 9th Parliament. In the same context, Council commends the commitment of the Somalia National Leadership Forum (NLF), Federal Independent Electoral Implementation Team, State-level Indirect Electoral Implementation Team, Indirect Electoral Dispute Resolution Mechanism and other national stakeholders to this electoral process, including the election of women representatives in the House of Parliament;

4.    Stresses the importance of ensuring that all allegations of malpractices and manipulated voting are objectively addressed and, looks forward to the completion of the electoral process through the election of a President as scheduled and without any further delays. Council commends the Somalia National Security Forces (SNSF) and AMISOM personnel for their valor, professionalism and effectiveness in supporting this electoral process, which is ongoing without major incidents, especially around the six designated electoral locations;

5.    Welcomes the achievements made in the state formation process in Somalia. In this regard, Council notes with satisfaction the conclusion, on 17 October 2016, of the formation of Hirshabelle regional administration whose Assembly elected the Regional President, Vice-President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker, which marks the formal completion of the establishment of federal member states in Somalia. Council reiterates its full support to the Federal Government of Somalia, for these remarkable achievements and encourages regional and international actors to continue to work in a coordinated and coherent manner, in order to consolidate the gains made in the country;

6.    Expresses deep concern over the continued threats posed by Al Shaabab to peace and security in Somalia and the region, through recurrent asymmetrical attacks. In this regard, Council strongly condemns these attacks. In particular, Council takes note of the incident, which occurred on 2 January 2017, outside the Medina Gate and at an entrance of a Hotel in Mogadishu and expresses its condolences to the families of the Somalia National Security Forces personnel who lost their lives and wishes quick recovery to those who sustained injuries.

7.    Also notes with deep concern, some incidents of re-occupation by Al Shaabab in some key towns in HirShabelle region (Moqokori, Ceel Cali, Halgan) and  Bakool region (Tiyeeglow town, Goof gadood). Council stresses the need for AMISOM and the SNSF to step up  their efforts in the recovery and consolidation of security in territories liberated from Al Shaabab;

8.    Expresses satisfaction with the implementation of the 2016 AMISOM Concept of Operations, and requests the Commission and AMISOM to spare no effort in ensuring that all operations are conducted in accordance with the CONOPs and within the proposed timelines. In this respect, Council decides to request the United Nations Security Council to authorize an AMISOM Troop surge of 4,500 for a non-renewable period of six (6) months, in order to undertake AMISOM mandated tasks as set out in the 2016 CONOPs especially in relation to the expansion of offensive operations as well as facilitate the exit strategy of the Mission;

9.    Calls on the international community to continue to provide and increase its support to AMISOM  and the SNSF commensurate with the challenges  being faced in their efforts to promote and consolidate peace and security in Somalia;

10.    Recalls that when the AU authorized the deployment of AMISOM in January 2007, it was on the understanding that AMISOM would only be deployed for a period of six (6) months, aimed essentially at contributing to the initial stabilization phase in Somalia and that, thereafter, the Mission would evolve into a UN operation that would support long term stabilization and post-conflict reconstruction of Somalia. In this context, Council requests the Chairperson of the Commission to urgently undertake strategic consultations to explore various funding options for AMISOM including through the convening of a high level tripartite meeting of the AU, the European Union and the UN to explore modalities for addressing the current funding challenges facing AMISOM. Council further requests the Commission to engage the EU with a view to finding a consensual solution to the payment of allowances to Burundi troops in AMISOM, based on a non-discriminatory approach, bearing in mind the peculiar nature of AMISOM operations, and in accordance with the Conclusions, of the 21st meeting of the AMISOM Military Operations Coordination Committee, held on 11 November 2016, in Addis Ababa;

11.    Pays tribute to all the AMISOM uniformed and civilian 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 urges AMISOM TCCs to maintain their presence in Somalia in accordance with the timeline of deployment as contained in the AMISOM CONOPs in order to avoid creating a security vacuum and other related negative consequences. Council reiterates the centrality of African solidarity as enshrined in the AU Constitutive Act, the main impetus for AMISOM deployment;
 
12.    Underlines the importance of a sustainable and coordinated approach for building the capacity of the SNSF and requests the Commission and AMISOM to work with the Federal Government of Somalia, the UN and other relevant stakeholders in all efforts to build the capacity of the SNSF, with a view to developing a more sustainable, robust and effective immediate, medium and long term strategy;

13.    Commends the AMISOM leadership and the T/PCCs for their continued efforts to ensure full compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law in the conduct of the Mission’s military operations, including the prompt establishment of boards of inquiry and other necessary mechanisms to investigate allegations of violations by AMISOM uniformed personnel and the adoption, where applicable, of appropriate sanctions against the perpetrators, in line with the relevant provisions of the Memoranda of Understanding signed between the AU and the T/PCCs. In the same context, Council reaffirms the AU’s zero tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA);

14.    Recalls paragraph 11 of the PSC Communiqué adopted at its 622nd meeting held on 6 September 2016, and requests the Commission and AMISOM to finalise the ten-year lessons learned study on AMISOM, which is expected to make concrete recommendations on the future of AMISOM presence in Somalia;

15.    Requests the Commission to transmit this communiqué and the Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on Somalia and implementation of the AMISOM mandate to the UN Secretary-General for onward transmission to the UNSC for its action as appropriate;

16.    Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.


Posted by Limi Mohammed

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