Niger Expresses Regret over Draft’s Processing, Demands Attention to Positions of Host Country, African Union, Troop Contributors
The Security Council announced today its adoption of a resolution reauthorizing the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) until 31 December and maintaining its overall 19,626 uniformed personnel level ahead of the phased handover of responsibilities to Somali security forces, planned for later in 2021.
Resolution 2568 (2021) — a comprehensive text adopted unanimously under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations — sets out AMISOM’s functions, objectives and strategic objectives, as well as requests for logistical and financial support, terms for the Federal Government of Somalia and reporting requirements for the African Union.
Recognizing the role of the African Union Peace and Security Council, the Council took note of its request that the African Union Commission finalize its independent assessment and urged it to mandate, in May 2021, an AMISOM that “supports and enables” the implementation of the Somalia Transition Plan, implementing the necessary steps to ensure continued delivery of support to Somali security efforts in 2022.
More broadly, the Council underlined the need for Somalia and its partners to take a “coordinated and cohesive” approach towards Somali-led political and security reforms to ensure the transition of security responsibilities agreed by the Somali authorities, the Somali security forces, and AMISOM from the outset.
The Council further requested that the African Union and the Federal Government conduct a joint update of AMISOM’s Concept of Operations, in accordance with the Somalia Transition Plan until the end of 2023 — in close collaboration with the federal member states, the United Nations and international partners — to be presented to the Security Council no later than the end of August 2021.
Among other functions, AMISOM will be authorized to realign its sectors with the boundaries of federal member states by the end of 2021 and establish a joint planning headquarters between AMISOM and the Somali security forces in each sector/federal member state. It will also help the national security forces become more offensive as a quick reaction force by the end of August 2021.
In terms of logistics, the Council requested that the Secretary-General continue to provide a logistical support package, through the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), AMISOM uniformed personnel and 70 AMISOM civilians — in accordance with resolution 2245 (2015) — as well as support to 13,900 Somali security forces. It also requested that the Secretary-General provide technical and expert advice to the African Union on the planning, deployment and strategic management of AMISOM.
The Council called upon the Federal Government of Somalia and the federal member states to organize free, fair, credible and inclusive elections, in line with the 17 September 2020 agreement and without further delay, and to finalize political agreement to that end.
Following the announcement, the representative of Niger spoke for Kenya, Tunisia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines — known informally as the “A3+1” — explaining that his delegation voted in favour of the text due to the over-arching need for unity of purpose within the Council and to demonstrate solidarity with those serving in AMISOM. However, he expressed deep regret about the manner in which the process was conducted, emphasizing that the A3+1 position was guided by its recognition of the African Union as a key stakeholder and by the Mission’s crucial actions taken at the cost of great loss of life on the part of troop-contributing countries. “The African Union, its role and mandate must be given due regard,” he stressed, pointing out that his delegation had not been properly consulted.
Noting that the draft was received only one day before the start of negotiations, he explained that elements of it had nonetheless been shared and discussed extensively among other parties long before the present time. Whereas today’s document is much improved, thanks to Niger’s input — which was based on the February communiqué by the African Union Peace and Security Council — he expressed disappointment that some A3+1 proposals were rejected without any convincing explanation. Among them was the inclusion of a reference to United Nations assessed contributions as a possibility to be examined in relation to enhancing the predictability and sustainability of AMISOM’s financing, despite the absence of reservations on the proposal during two rounds of negotiations.
Moreover, he continued, the independent assessment report, circulated in January 2021, stated that a reconfigured AMISOM is the best option for supporting Somalia, and that the best way to fund the Mission would be through United Nations assessed contributions. As stated by the African Union Peace and Security Council, the African Union must play a leadership role in determining the future of AMISOM throughout Somalia’s transition, he said, declaring: “The Security Council must listen more intently to the host country, the African Union and troop-contributing countries.” It must also rethink the penholder system, which is outmoded and increasingly at odds with managing peace and security, he emphasized.
[Security Council resolutions are currently adopted through a written procedure vote under temporary, extraordinary and provisional measures implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as set out in a letter (document S/2020/253) by its President for March (China).]