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Thursday, May 30, 2024

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    The UN Security Council has received a letter of support for the delayed troop drawdown in Somalia.

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    The foreign ministers of the five African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troop contributing countries (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda) have written to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Security Council President Ferit Hoxha to express their “strong support” for Somalia’s request to postpone the withdrawal of ATMIS troops by three months.

    The letter requests a “technical pause” in the planned withdrawal of 3,000 ATMIS employees, which Somalia requested explicitly in a recent petition to the Security Council. It claims the delay is required to address major security problems identified in a recent Joint Technical Assessment (JTA) study before moving on to the next phase of drawdown.

    The foreign ministers share Somalia’s concerns about maintaining adequate security preparations for population centres near bases that are closing or being handed over to Somali forces. They also highlight the necessity to accommodate continuing offensive operations against al-Shabaab as well as recent losses such as the August attack in Galguduud.

    While reiterating their commitment to a full withdrawal of ATMIS troops by December 2024, the ministers believe the planned 90-day break will give them time to create answers to the JTA-identified issues, allowing for a smoother transition.

    The letter implies that if Somalia completes its prescribed objectives and priorities on time, the drawdown should begin before the 90-day period concludes. It also requests international aid in securing funds for the 3,000 troops who have been delayed from various partners and budgets lines.

    As Somalia continues to navigate the complex security transition process, the call for a technical pause represents the consensus opinion of the ATMIS troop contributing countries. The request will now be considered by the Security Council as it considers the next steps for the UN’s participation in Somalia.

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