Ground Conditions Must Be Fully Assessed before Any Drawdown of Peacekeeping Personnel, Somalia’s Representative Insists
Renewing its authorization of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for one year ahead of national elections in 2020, the Security Council decided to maintain deployment and reduce uniformed personnel by 1,000 in line with the existing plan to gradually transfer such responsibilities to Somali security forces.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2472 (2019) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the 15‑member Council authorized reductions that would set a maximum level of 19,626 uniformed AMISOM personnel by 28 February 2020. While renewing provisions of the previous mandate extension contained in resolution 2431 (2018), the Council today decided to allow for adjustments to the pace of cuts based on the transition plan and the situation on the ground. (See Press Release SC/13439.)
It also underlined the necessity of taking a coordinated and cohesive approach to Somali-led political and security reforms, for all stakeholders to consider the security situation in each location when transitioning and for AMISOM drawdown locations to be determined by threat assessments, with due regard for the need to protect civilians and mitigate risk before, during and after any military operations.
Authorized priority tasks include conducting a gradual handover of security responsibilities to Somali forces, who aim to take the lead by 2021, and reducing the threat posed by the terrorist group Al-Shabaab. In addition, the Council authorized tasks such as securing key supply routes to areas recovered from Al‑Shabaab, conducting targeted offensive operations that support the transition plan and assisting the Government of Somalia and the federal member states, including in implementing a total ban on charcoal exports.
The Council requested the African Union to provide regular updates and to strengthen operational coordination among AMISOM contingents. It also supported the United Nations-African Union intention to conduct an equipment review by July, taking into account existing resources, and for AMISOM to undertake a phased approach towards achieving equipment optimization. It further requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide AMISOM with a logistical support package.
At the same time, the Council expressed grave concerns about the ongoing humanitarian crisis and encouraged all partners, including donors, to maintain related efforts throughout 2019. Urging the Government of Somalia and the federal member states to deliver on commitments to the security pact agreed at the London Somalia Conference, it also called on them to work with partners to protect all citizens and to bring to justice perpetrators of sexual violence and other crimes. It further called on parties to urgently accelerate progress towards an inclusive political settlement.
Jerry Matthews Matjila (South Africa) called on key partners to continue to provide sustained and predictable resources to support the vital peacekeeping operation. The stability and enhanced security in Somalia would improve safety in the shipping lanes off the Horn of Africa, benefiting many countries in the region and around the world. However, the grave humanitarian situation is a deep concern, he said, urging all parties to ensure the protection of civilians.
Kacou Houadja Léon Adom (Côte d’Ivoire), noting various compromises made in negotiating the final version of the resolution, said the Council must continue to support AMISOM’s important role. Members and all Somali parties must fully implement its provisions towards the goal of peace and stability.
Anatolio Ndong Mba (Equatorial Guinea) said the international community and the Government must ensure that Somali security forces are sufficiently trained and equipped, particularly with general elections forthcoming. Any premature transition could erase the gains that have been made. He stressed that the Council must resolutely support AMISOM and the Government in order to achieve the desired effects for Somalia and the wider region.
Karen Pierce (United Kingdom), the main sponsor of the text, thanked Council colleagues, particularly those from Africa, for their constructive approach.
Mohamed Rabi Yusuf (Somalia), paying tribute to the African Union for standing by his country through its darkest days, said Somalia has changed over the last decade. Ongoing operations in Lower Shabelle have disrupted Al-Shabaab networks and supply lines, with a ripple effect on Mogadishu’s security. Preventing Al-Shabaab’s resurgence, however, requires help from international partners to extend local governance into liberated areas. Long-term peace will require security gains consolidated by good governance, investment and sustainable development. As reforms take root, there will no doubt be a backlash from spoilers, but the Government is committed to development and to strengthening its institutions as it assumes responsibility for security, he said.
Acknowledging that AMISOM cannot stay in Somalia forever, he underscored the Government’s commitment to a transitional plan that would enable the Mission’s personnel to leave a noble legacy. But, for now, in the run-up to elections in 2020 and 2021, Somalia stands at a crucial juncture. Any drawdown of AMISOM personnel must be preceded by a thorough assessment of conditions on the ground, he said, stressing the importance of implementing in a more strategic manner the proposal to reduce the Mission’s troop ceiling by 1,000 personnel. He concluded by expressing hope that AMISOM’s new mandate will be the culmination of efforts to bring about sustainable peace and stability.
The representative of Indonesia also spoke.
The meeting began at 11:40 a.m. and ended at 12:07 p.m.