MOGADISHU (Halbeeg News) – The United Kingdom (UK) has reiterated its commitment to aiding African Union Mission In Somalia (AMISOM) ahead of AU troops exit.
At a meeting with the AU Special Representative for Somalia on Saturday, visiting UK Minister for Africa Rt. Hon. Harriet Baldwin cautioned, that a premature withdrawal of troops from the Horn of Africa country could be detrimental to the country’s security.
She called for a conditions-based, gradual withdrawal of the troops, based on the strength of the Somali security forces.
“As you know, the UK has been consistent in saying that in terms of transition to both the Somali National Army and the Somali Police; that this needs to be done on a condition basis, rather than on an artificial timetable,” said the minister.
Late August, UK pledged £7 million to fund Amisom in its fight against the Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May, during her visit to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya last month, said Somalia’s instability will have a knock-on effect on other nations.
“Somalia is at a critical juncture. And sustainable, predictable funding and support for the troops who are building stability in the region is vital to support a transition to Somali-led security when the conditions for a handover are right,” Ms. May said.
Ms. May emphasised the importance of durable security, calling for combined efforts to end terrorism.
AMISOM force has been hit by various challenges including inadequate funds.
In 2016, the troop-contributing countries complained of delayed payment by the European Union.
Further, in January of the same year, the EU rolled back its contribution by 20 per cent, meaning it would give €20 million every month up to June 2016.
In September, African Union and the EU signed a deal to have the soldiers receive their allowances for the past nine months from the €178 million boost from the European bloc.
AMISOM, established in 2007, requires about $300 million a month to run its operations.