Addis Ababa, 24 January 2017. The Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC) for the African Union Mission in Somalia convened its 22nd meeting in Addis Ababa, on 24 January 2017. Chiefs of Defense Staff (CDS) of AMISOM Troop Contributing Countries (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda) or their designated representatives attended the meeting, chaired by the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smaïl Chergui. Representatives of the Somalia National Army, partner countries and institutions (namely: the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the European Union and the United Nations) also participated in the meeting.
The meeting took place in the wake of the encouraging developments in the evolving outcomes of the electoral process, but also against the backdrop of the need to exchange views and agree on the way forward on the expansion of AMISOM and SNA offensive operations in Somalia as well as the urgent need to address AMISOM prevailing funding gaps.
The MOCC recalled the outcome of its 21st meeting held in Addis Ababa, on 11 November 2016, and re-iterated its call for the deployment of additional forces, key combat and stabilization capabilities in order to enable AMISOM and the SNSF conduct expanded offensive operations. In this respect, the meeting re-emphasised the urgency for the UN and the international community to support additional forces of up to 4,000 troops in the provision of rations, fuel, and medical, for a limited duration, to allow for the conduct of offensive operations, as a catalyst for AMISOM imminent draw-down from Somalia.
In the meantime, the MOCC agreed to that the AU Commission should convene a planning meeting, which will be hosted by the Federal Democratic of Ethiopia, in Addis Ababa, not later than the first week of February 2017, to finalize the operational plan for the conduct of expanded offensive operations.
The MOCC further agreed that all Troop Contributing Countries shall sign the addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding between the AU and TCCs, as an essential requirement to facilitate the payment of troop allowances for the period from January to September 2016. At the same time, the MOCC called on the AU, UN and the international community to address AMISOM funding challenges. In this regard, the MOCC welcomed the proposal by the AU Commission to convene an international consultative meeting, on how to bridge the prevailing funding gap to the Mission.
The MOCC also called on the AU Commission to elevate the issue of AMISOM funding gap to the upcoming AU Summit, in order for Summit to provide guidance on the way forward. Further, the MOCC welcomed the report by the Commission on the resolution of the payment procedure by the EU of the Burundian National Defence Force (BNDF) contingent in Somalia following the recent visit of the Commissioner for Peace and Security to Bujumbura.
The MOCC reiterated the need for the continued and enhanced support to the SNA especially in preparation for the envisaged expanded offensive operations. In this regard, the meeting took note of the update by the Commission that it would explore alternative means of providing some support to SNA forces through a combination of financial and in-kind contributions. In a similar vein, the meeting urged other international partners to consider providing additional support to SNA forces to facilitate offensive operations.
The MOCC stressed that a comprehensive approach to security anchored on a combination of critical mutually reinforcing factors relating to the promotion of immediate security, extension of state authority, local conflict resolution, building a capable Somalia National Security Forces, and preventing violent extremism remains the most guaranteed approach to sustainable peace in Somalia. This comprehensive approach must have the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM and the AU as primary actors in the implementation of this strategy. Therefore, the MOCC re-iterated the need to ensure that other partners work in a coherent and collaborative way with the AU, AMISOM and the FGS as they seek to support Somalia in its realization of a vision for a peaceful and prosperous country.
The meeting further commended and expressed its appreciation to the P/TCCs for the sacrifices made in support of the people and Government of Somalia in their pursuit for sustainable peace and security.
Finally, the meeting expressed appreciation to the AU Commission for convening the meeting, and decided to convene the next meeting of the MOCC in Nairobi, Kenya in due course.
Posted by Abraham Kebede
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