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UN Security Council extends ATMIS Mission in Somalia yet again

NY June 28, 2023 (SD) – The UN Security Council extended the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) on Wednesday, unanimously adopting a resolution to maintain the country’s peacekeeping force until they fully hand over security responsibilities to Somali forces.

AMISOM, which began its withdrawal from Somalia years, has been given a year to withdraw up to 3,000 additional troops.

The Security Council approved in April 2022 the restructuring of AMISOM into ATMIS, providing it with enhanced capabilities to combat Al-Shabaab.

ATMIS’s objective is to reduce its strength to zero by the end of 2024, while gradually transferring security responsibilities to the Somali forces. By the previous decision of the Security Council, ATMIS started withdrawing 2,000 soldiers from Somalia a few days ago, a process that is expected to continue until June.

The resolution regarding ATMIS’s presence in Somalia until the end of 2023 was adopted on Wednesday, and it authorized a troop level of 14,626 from October 1 to December 31.

The Security Council stated that it “reiterates its commitment to review” after receiving briefings from Somalia and the African Union on September 15 to assess progress and subsequently develop a “comprehensive and realistic plan” in line with the current situation.

It also emphasized the “progress” made by Somalia in countering Al-Shabaab and stressed that the Security Council “welcomed the continued improvements in Somalia’s peace, security, and stability.”

Additionally, during the meeting, Somalia once again requested the lifting of the arms embargo.

“The partial lifting of the UN arms embargo on Somalia serves as an encouragement for the Federal Government of Somalia to empower its security forces to effectively counter the threat posed by Al-Shabaab,” said Somalia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Mohamed Rabi Yusuf.

In November, the Security Council renewed the arms embargo on Somalia until 1992. The embargo currently does not prevent the enhancement of Somali security forces.

Therefore, the UN Security Council’s committee responsible for the arms embargo will be informed of the exceptions required, and efforts will be made to gradually modify the arms embargo regime in certain aspects.

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