Somalia has assured a joint team from the African Union and the United Nations reviewing the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) of its commitment to assume security responsibilities as stipulated in the transition plan.
Speaking at a high-level meeting attended by AU-UN joint review team, international partners, AMISOM Troop and Police Contributing Countries, held in Mogadishu, yesterday, the National Security Advisor of the Federal Government of Somalia, Abdisaid Musse Ali, asked the team not to judge the country by its past but what it is today and what it will be in future.
Presenting the Federal Government of Somalia’s transition plan, Mr. Ali said there was political will from the highest office in the land and the government was ready to handle the country’s security.
“The transition plan represents a significant change in the planning and delivery of security in Somalia. It’s not business as usual. For many years, Somalia has been grateful for the strong support of our international partners which has allowed the country to make progress,” he added.
The Advisor noted that the transition plan is aimed at securing Somalia, through the implementation of the security architecture developed and adopted by the government last year.
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, said the peacekeeping force had always had an exit strategy.
The SRCC said AMISOM fully identified itself with the transition plan developed by the Federal Government of Somalia, with the help of development partners.
“All the things that are showing up now, in this transition plan, were already at the centre of AMISOM’s action plan,” the SRCC said adding; “We need to build a state and building a state meant the Somalis needed to take responsibility not only of the military but also of the administration of the country.”
He added that the peacekeeping force had envisaged the transition plan in driving out Al-Shabaab in most places and rebuilding institutions that are now ready to be handed over to the Somali government.
Ambassador Madeira said he had seen profound determination from the Federal Government of Somalia to take over the responsibilities currently being undertaken by AMISOM in the country.
In his remarks, the Head of the United Nations Delegation to the Joint AU-UN Review of AMISOM, Walid Musa Abdelkarim, acknowledged that there had been significant political progress since the joint mission was in Somalia a year ago.
“We now are convinced that the geopolitical position or status of Somalia is rising, increasing every day because of global events and therefore we will have this time a more serious tone in what we do,” Dr. Abdelkarim noted.
Speaking at the meeting, the Head of the African Union Delegation to the Joint AU-UN Review of AMISOM, Maj-Gen. Francis Okello, said the continental body wants the transition plan presented by the Somali government to succeed.
“We want this plan to succeed. And we’re sure that it will succeed because of the level of commitment,” said Maj-Gen Okello.
His remarks were echoed by the Ugandan Ambassador to Somalia, Prof Sam Turyamuhika, who pledged the support of the Troop Contributing Countries in ensuring the plan succeeds.
“We are here to help you (succeed). We have been doing it and those of you who have worked with us know that this is the spirit in which we came here,” Uganda’s ambassador added.
The Head of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), Lisa Filipetto, said this year’s joint AU-UN review is important because the transition plan offers a practical shift from the way things have been done.
Ms. Filipetto said the review also comes at a time when important activities, expected to shape the hand over by AMISOM, are scheduled to take place.
“There are a number of significant dates going forward. There’s this joint review. Already being mentioned is the Somali Partnership Forum in late June. So, this review will feed into Security Council considerations,” the Head of UNSOS observed.
Mr. Ali paid tribute to AMISOM soldiers, police and civilians for their commitment to Somalia, noting their presence remains critical as Somalia moves into the transition stage.
The AU-UN joint review team is in Mogadishu meeting various stakeholders and will present its report to the United Nations Security Council ahead of a meeting to decide on the extension of AMISOM’s mandate which expires on May 31, 2018.