Last Updated on: 27th April 2023, 09:12 am
Kampala, April 27, 2023: The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abubaker Jeje Odongo has reiterated Uganda’s commitment towards the phased drawdown of troops serving under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia by December 2024.
The Minister was Wednesday speaking at the Ministerial Session of Troop Contributing Countries to ATMIS that was held at Kampala Serena Hotel.
Minister Odongo said that Uganda is unwavering in its commitment to support Somalia in her quest for peace, security and stability and commended the Federal Government of Somalia for mobilising forces to join the fight against the Al-Shabaab.
“Uganda was the first country to deploy a contingent in Somalia in 2007 and to contribute to restoring peace in the country. Last month, 2,900 trainees of the Somali National Army were passed out after successfully concluding their military training in Uganda,” he said.
He added that another batch of 3,000 trainees have commenced their training as part of an effort to generate forces for the SNA to take over the security responsibilities after the drawdown,”
The Minister however said that despite the achievements of AMISOM/ATMIS, some recurring security challenges threaten the gains so far, calling for the need for force protection which includes the provision of force multipliers and enablers. He reminded the delegates that the Somali transition plan envisages the handover of security responsibilities to the Somali Security Forces by December 2024.
Alhaji Sarjoh M.Bah, the Director of Conflict Management in the Africa Union said the AU remains committed to the effective implementation of the drawdown plan within the spirit and context of the Peace and Security Council and Security Council resolutions and called for coordination to guarantee that there are no risks to the protection of civilians and consensus between the TCCs.
Alhaji Sarjoh applauded the efforts of the security forces that have been supported by the local communities for jointly fighting the Al-Shabaab. “Since August 2022, we have seen the Somali Security Forces lead a robust and sustained campaign against the Al-Shabaab. This campaign has been with the support of the local communities across various ATMIS Sectors with the continued presence and support of ATMIS,” he said
The Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja said: “Uganda remains committed to supporting the Federal Government of Somalia in its initiatives to take the lead in line with the security stabilization plan and the phased sector-by-sector drawdown plan. He re-echoed that the view of Uganda like many Troop Contributing Countries is that the drawdown should be managed well in order not to put the lives of the Forces and the people at risk.”
The Minister of Defence of The Federal Government of Somalia, Abdukadir Mohamed Nur expressed gratitude to the Troop Contributing Countries of ATMIS for their continued commitment to Somalia’s peace and security and welcomed the TCC summit, which shows the commitment of Somalia to enhance its partnership with Troop Contributing Countries.
Abdukadir called for the lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia which he said remains a challenge for Somalia. He said the Federal Government of Somalia has generated enough forces to gradually take over security responsibilities from ATMIS.
He further added that Somalia is committed to the drawdown of 2000 forces by June 30th, 2023 and a joint technical assessment should be done immediately after the completion of phase one (1) drawdown.
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Ms Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, the Head of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia said the UN is ready to support the planned drawdown as mandated by the Security Council and reiterated the commitment of the UN to the AU-UN partnership especially in supporting ATMIS and the Somali Security Forces.
Ms Kacyira commended the governments of the Troop Contributing Countries and underscored their contribution to ATMIS and its predecessor AMISOM to the stability of Somalia. “The progress achieved in Somalia wouldn’t have been possible without the contribution of the then AMISOM and current ATMIS,” she said.
The Ministerial Session was attended by the Chiefs of Defence/Staff of Troop contributing countries and delegates from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, Ambassadors and representatives from the African Union, United Nations Support Office in Somalia, European Union; the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, partners for the United Kingdom and the United States of America.