Somalia: Adoption of Resolution on AMISOM and UNSOM
Tomorrow (28 July), the Council is expected to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and reauthorising the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Council members held one meeting on the draft resolution on Wednesday (22 July) with subsequent negotiations conducted bi-laterally by the penholder, the UK. The draft resolution, which draws heavily on the findings of a 30 June joint AU-UN report and the recommendations of the Secretary-General in a 2 July letter transmitting the report to the Council, cleared a silence procedure on Friday (24 July).
The resolution comes at a time of significant security and political developments in Somalia: AMISOM has resumed military offensives against Al-Shabaab with Operation Juba Corridor; yesterday Al-Shabaab detonated a truck bomb at the Jazeera Hotel in Mogadishu (Council members issued a press statement earlier today condemning the attack); and a High Level Partnership Forum meeting will be held in Mogadishu on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
The draft resolution extends UNSOM’s mandate without modification until 30 March 2016. UNSOM’s mandate was most recently extended to 7 August with resolution 2221 on 26 May. The 10-week technical rollover was adopted so Council members could fully take into consideration the findings and recommendations of the joint AU-UN report requested in resolution 2182 when negotiating the current draft resolution. Consistent with the AU-UN report and Secretary-General’s letter, the draft resolution requests UNSOM to strengthen its presence in the capitals of the Interim Regional Administrations (currently Kismayo and Baidoa) to support the federal state formation process. The draft resolution agrees with the Secretary-General’s recommendation regarding the deployment of civilian planning capacity in regional capitals and encourages regional engagement to be carried out jointly by AMISOM-UNSOM teams. The geographic expansion of UNSOM staff would be contingent on “strict adherence to UN security requirements” and “taking into account operational and security constraints,” and it would be dependent upon the capability of AMISOM and the Somali National Security Forces to protect UNSOM personnel.
Regarding UN peacekeeping, the draft resolution concurs with the Secretary-General’s conclusion that conditions in Somalia are not appropriate for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission until the end of 2016 at the earliest (the joint AU-UN report also reached this conclusion). It welcomes the revised benchmarks for UN peacekeeping outlined by the Secretary-General in his 2 July letter to the Council and requests the Secretary-General to keep the revised benchmarks under continuous review, in consultation with the AU.
With respect to AMISOM, its authorisation is extended to 30 May 2016 (resolution 2182 most recently extended AMISOM’s authorisation to 30 November 2015) at the current surge-level deployment of 22,126 uniformed personnel, as first authorised in resolution 2124. The draft resolution agrees with the Secretary-General’s assessment (based on the joint AU-UN report) that the security strategy in Somalia should be guided by three main objectives: continuing offensive operations against Al-Shabaab strongholds, enabling political processes at all levels, and enabling stabilisation efforts through delivering security to the Somali people and facilitating processes of peacebuilding and reconciliation. The draft resolution requests the AU to undertake a targeted reconfiguration of AMISOM to improve efficiency, including through strengthening command and control structures, generating a special forces capacity under the authority of the Force Commander, generating specialised units recommended by the Secretary-General in his letter of 14 October 2013 (i.e., logistics, communications, engineering, port security and training), and eventually shifting uniformed personnel from military to police deployments. The Council also welcomes the AU’s intention to develop a new concept of operations for AMISOM and requests it to be completed in consultation with the UN by 30 October.
Overall, the negotiations on the draft resolution were not contentious, perhaps at least in part because the Council deferred making decisions on three potentially divisive issues: the UN Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA), and extension of non-lethal support packages to the Somali Police Force and to 3,000 Puntland troops. The draft resolution agrees with the Secretary-General’s assessment that there have been gaps in UNSOA’s provision of logistical support to AMISOM and the Somali National Army, and requests the Secretary-General to undertake a strategic review of UNSOA and provide options for improving UNSOA’s support to AMISOM by 30 September. It also takes note of the Secretary-General’s recommendations to extend the non-lethal support packages to the Somali Police Force and to 3,000 Puntland troops, and requests the Secretary-General to provide further details regarding implementation by 30 September. Depending on the assessment and options presented in the forthcoming report by the Secretary-General, the Council could revisit these three issues in October.