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African Union (AU) high-level delegation conclude visit in Somalia to engage on troop Drawdown and new African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) Mandate

A high-level delegation from the African Union headed by the Director of Conflict Management, Dr. Alhaji Sarjoh Bah, has concluded a four-day working visit to Somalia to evaluate the first stage of a planned troop withdrawal,which was successfully concluded at the end of last month.

"We came here to discuss and engage with ATMIS, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), and the United Nations, and other International partners on the transition processes and the requirements of the new United Nations Security Council Resolution 2687 (2023) on the steps that we need to take to effectively carry out the next phase of the drawdown, which begins in September and involves further withdrawal of 3,000 ATMIS troops," noted Dr Bah.

The first phase of the transition involved the drawdown of 2,000 troops serving with ATMIS and the handover of six Forward Operating Bases (FOBS) to the Somali Security Forces.

Dr. Bah said that in compliance with Resolution 2687 (2023), a joint technical assessment would be conducted next month to inform planning for the next stage – the drawdown of 3,000 ATMIS troops to be completed by end of September.

The AU official also met with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), Catriona Laing, and the Head of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), Assistant Secretary-General (ASG), Aisa Kirabo Kacyira.

They discussed the UN's role in peacebuilding, reconciliation, the drawdown, and transfer of security responsibilities.

"We are at a very critical period, and I am quite impressed by the enthusiasm, the level of cooperation and the sense that we are all pulling in the same direction that is extremely useful," Dr Bah noted.

Commenting on security, the Director praised Somalia's President, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, for the tremendous progress in driving a Somali-led security transformation during a first term of office.

"It is a sign of progress. It is a moment that we must all collectively celebrate. It is also a clear demonstration that the Federal Government of Somalia is stepping forward to take over what is their primary responsibility, the safety and security of Somalia," he added.

During the meetings, Dr Bah thanked the stakeholders for demonstrating solid support for Somalia. He expressed his admiration to the partners for the universal consensus in consolidating the security gains to restore unity in the horn of Africa region.

The SRCC and Head of ATMIS, Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef, led the delegation and other senior ATMIS officials in series of closed-door meetings with officials from the Federal Government of Somalia, Ambassadors from the Troop Contributing Countries, representatives from civil society and staff from ATMIS components – military, police and civilian.

They have since departed to the Africa Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).
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