Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa has warned the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to “avoid turning our gains into vain.”
He called upon the TCCs and other international partners to “establish predictable and sustainable solutions that can safeguard the enormous successes registered by the peace keeping mission in Somalia.”
Sam Kutesa sounded the warning as he opened a meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence of AMISOM troop contributing countries at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala on Thursday.
The one-day meeting, was held a day before President Yoweri Museveni hosts the AMISOM TCCs Heads of State Summit on Friday.
“As we consider concrete steps to forge a way forward on peace and security in Somalia, as TCCs we have made enormous efforts and sacrifices to AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA). Therefore it is crucial that mechanisms be put in place that aim at safe guarding the enormous AMISOM success,” he said.
According to the Ugandan foreign minister, one of several gains by AMISOM in the last 11 years include the fact that the Somali Government that was previously based out of the country, is now based in Mogadishu since 2007.
He added that since the AMISOM intervention, international organisations including UN have relocated to Mogadishu, more than 80% of Al-Shabaab dominated areas have been liberated, threat of piracy at sea has been neutralised, business is thriving, construction and reconstruction progressing and regular elections have been held.
“Such positive developments and Somalia’s relative stability,reflect the contribution of AMISOM and the Somali Security Forces. As Somalia goes through the important phase of consolidating its state functions, including the building of its national security forces, the drawdown of AMISOM should be synchronized with the corresponding strengthening of Somali Security Forces.”
The Foreign Affairs Minister applauded international partners for the support they have given to AMISOM over the years, adding that it was and still is very important for the Somalia and Federal Member States to continuously pursue inclusive politics to consolidate the peace and security in that country.
The African Union Commisioner for Peace and Security Ambassador Smail Chergui, while speaking at the same function, commended all TCCs to the AMISOM and other International Partners for their gradual assumption of primary security responsibility in Somalia.
Commissioner Smail Said: “A number of accomplishments have been achieved, largely aided by the political space and enabling environment created by AMISOM. For example the adoption of the National Security Architecture which provides the broad frame work to build the Somalia National Security Forces (SNSF) and the recent agreement on a roadmap on Inclusive Politics which calls for a constitutional review process, a new electoral model for universal elections by 2020, and reconciliation.”
Uganda has 6,223 troops in Somalia with 5,432 troops from Burundi, 1000 troops from Djibouti, 3,664 from Kenya, 850 Sierra Leone and Ethiopia 4,395.