Top UN official ends visit to Somalia pledging UNSOS support to the Somali Security Forces

7 Sep 2023

Top UN official ends visit to Somalia pledging UNSOS support to the Somali Security Forces

Mogadishu - The United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Atul Khare, on Tuesday ended a four-day visit to Somalia with a pledge that the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) would do all in its power to ensure the Somali Security Forces are able to take full control of security responsibilities as African Union peacekeepers gradually withdraw.

USG Khare stressed that for a successful transition to be achieved - as envisaged by the AU and the UN - Somali Security Forces must take over full security responsibilities from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) with the help of UNSOS.

“In order for a successful transition to be realised, ATMIS responsibilities have to be taken over by the Somali Security Forces, and the common entity which serves both is UNSOS,” he said.

On Sunday, Khare visited Galmudug State capital, Dhusamareb, and met with Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and other senior officials. Those discussions focused on the ongoing military offensive against Al Shabaab militants, ATMIS troop withdrawal, and UNSOS’ support in post-ATMIS Somalia.

“I am confident that under the leadership of the President that Somalia will win the war against Al-Shabaab and other armed groups trying to disturb the peace and security and thereby compromise the economic prosperity and development of this country,” he declared.

The USG reiterated that UNSOS would continue providing medical casualty evacuations for Somali Security Forces in the battlefield, adding that between January 1 and end of August, 739 casualty evacuations were conducted.

“This is something which is extremely commendable because such casualty evacuations increase the morale of Somali Security Forces and thereby increase their effectiveness on the ground against Al-Shabaab,” he said.

While in Galmudug, Khare visited Dhusamareb Airport Forward Operating Base (FOB), which has been earmarked for handover in the second phase of ATMIS troop drawdown, as mandated by the UN Security Council Resolution 2687(2023). The exercise which involves the withdrawal of 3,000 troops is expected to be concluded by the end of this month.

He expressed satisfaction with the progress made in setting up and strengthening institutions that would be responsible for securing Somalia once ATMIS exits.

 “I am happy that the institutions of the government of Somalia are preparing themselves to assume the security responsibilities which are their sovereign responsibilities, to begin with, ” the USG noted. “They are ensuring a greater number of force generation of Somali National Army and of the Somali Security Forces.”

Khare expressed confidence that UNSOS was headed for even greater heights.

“I have seen the great help the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) has been providing to the people of Somalia, to the government of Somalia, and of course, to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and to other UN colleagues,” he added on Tuesday.

Somalia’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs Omar Ali thanked USG Khare and ASG Aisa Kirabo Kacyira for the logistical support offered by UNSOS in the ongoing transfer of security responsibilities.

“We are growing up, and we hope the United Nations will help us to grow more and become self-sufficient,” said Minister Ali while welcoming Khare in Somalia.

The Head of UNSOS, Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, thanked the UN Department of Operational Support, under the leadership of Khare, for its continued support to Somalia.

“I express my gratitude to Atul Khare for the invaluable support that he continues to accord us, helping us to connect in a much more strategic way with the government and the people of Somalia,” said Kacyira while addressing the UN staff on Tuesday.

The USG urged the UN family not to tire but continue helping the people of Somalia rebuild and stabilise their country.

“I request all colleagues of the UN and all partners of Somalia as well as civil society to contribute to the course of creating a peaceful and secure Somalia that is committed to democracy and human rights and anchored on the path to economic development and prosperity for the people.”

Other UN dignitaries who held discussions with USG Khare included, the UN Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), Catriona Laing; the UN Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, Anita Kiki Ghebo and the UN Deputy Special Representative and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, George Conway.

The top UN official also held a series of meetings with the senior leadership of ATMIS, Ambassadors of Troop Contributing Countries in Somalia, the representatives of the International Community, and UN country teams among others.

Diplomats who held talks with USG Khare were from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, United Kingdom, Turkey, United States, the African Union and the European Union among others.

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