AU says develops framework to guide transition in Somalia

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said Sunday it has developed as an effective framework for the gradual transition of security responsibilities to Somalia’s security institutions.

The AU mission said the Concept of Operations (CONOPS) 2018, once approved by the African Union and senior defense officials of troop-contributing countries, will be crucial for the mission’s quest for a peaceful and democratic Somalia.

“We want to produce a document that is workable, a document that is in a position capable of producing the expected results and we are very much optimistic that we will do it,” Francisco Madeira, special representative of the chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, said in a statement.

He said CONOPS, which will guide AMISOM’s activities and operations for the 2018-2021 period, marks the final phase of the AU mission’s transition and eventual exit from Somalia.

The AU mission said its peacekeeping force is collaborating with the Somali security forces to build capacity and bring stability in the Horn of Africa nation by setting up governance structures in areas AMISOM had liberated.

The pan-African troops are expected to relinquish the security of the key towns, to the Somali forces, through a conditions-based transition plan, to allow them to take the lead responsibility as part of the planned exit.

The AU mission said the document was agreed during a five-day meeting of the mission’s staff, Somali government officials and representatives of the African Union.

The document details AMISOM’s plans and aspirations that will culminate in the scheduled 2021 one-man-one-vote elections and consequently the gradual transfer of the security responsibilities to Somali security forces.

“This is a very important undertaking and endeavor because it marks a crucial step in a very crucial moment we find ourselves in our efforts in Somalia,” Madeira said, noting that the document is a product of “hard-work and open and frank discussions.”

The forum, Madeira said, looked into the issue of the mission’s military component and analyzed the way it is working toward delivering a “safe” Somalia to its people.

Resolving the problem in Somalia, Madeira noted, requires more than just the military approach.

“Security is not just a matter of shooting al-Shabab but it is also a matter of extending our hands to those elements of al-Shabab who for whatever reason had slid into violence and extremism and now are willing to abandon that path,” he said.

He called on partners, troops and police-contributing countries and all Somalis to “put our hands together” to ensure that peace and security are returned in the country.

 

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