Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2687 (2023), Security Council Renews Authorization of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia by Six Months
The Security Council today unanimously adopted a resolution renewing its authorization of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) by six months until December in support of the Government’s preparation for phase two and the Mission’s troop drawdown.
By resolution 2687 (2023) (to be issued as document S/RES/2687(2023)), the Council, among other things, called on the Government of Somalia to continue working with the African Union, United Nations, European Union and bilateral partners to expedite the development of its sovereign capabilities necessary to gradually take over security responsibilities from ATMIS, and to enable greater Somali ownership and responsibility in preparation for the exit of ATMIS and scaling-back of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS).
By other terms, the Council requested the Government of Somalia and the African Union to conduct a joint technical assessment by 31 August to evaluate phase one drawdown, a further update by 15 September on their preparations for phase two drawdown and for the Government of Somalia to provide an update to the Council by 30 November on progress in implementing its revised national security architecture, force generation and integration.
Following the adoption, Michel Xavier Biang (Gabon), also speaking for Ghana and Mozambique, thanked the United Kingdom for facilitating consensus on the text and welcomed the mandate’s extension, which provides a fair duration for ATMIS and the Government to prepare for phase two of the drawdown. Stressing that the situation is at critical point, he said that the mandate renewal should be effectively implemented to help the Government, ATMIS and UNSOS deliver on their respective mandates. He also said he looked forward to receiving the joint technical assessment for phase one, as well as preparations for phase two. Spotlighting the negative impact of the arms embargo imposed on Somalia since 1992, he reiterated the calls by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), African Union and the Somali Government for that ban to be totally lifted in order to effectively combat Al-Shabaab.
Anna M. Evstigneeva (Russian Federation) noted her delegation voted in favour of the extensions of the Mission’s mandate and UNSOS, and voiced her full support for the work of African peacekeepers who remain a critical factor in securing Somalia and containing the al-Shabaab threat. However, despite some positive outcomes, Al-Shabaab remains a threat, with the number of terrorist attacks using improvised explosive devices in the first quarter of 2023 exceeding the statistics of all recent years. She cautioned against a hasty withdrawal of the Mission, as creating a security vacuum is unacceptable. African peacekeepers must have the necessary resources, and Somalia should have potential to strengthen the capacity of its armed forces, “which is impossible without a review of the arms embargo”, she stressed.
Mohamed Rabi Yusuf (Somalia) welcomed the ATMIS mandate renewal, noting that ongoing Somali-led offensive military operations have resulted in both heavy losses and vast territorial gain from Al-Shabaab. The Government is committed to assuming full security responsibility from ATMIS within the agreed timelines, with planning and implementation of the drawdown being executed in close coordination with the joint technical committee. He noted that phase one of the drawdown of 2,000 ATMIS troops is nearing completion, and the Somali armed forces are assuming responsibility for four forward operating bases while collapsing three others. In the next six months, the country will undertake the necessary preparation in coordination with African Union to implement the phase two drawdown of 3,000 ATMIS troops by September.
Stating that the timely gradual transfer of security responsibilities from ATMIS to Somali security forces is contingent upon the availability of the requisite operational capabilities, he stressed that the partial United Nations arms embargo hinders the Government’s ability to adequately resource its security force to counter the evolving threat of al-Shabaab — which can allow it to regroup and adapt. Reiterating his Government’s call for the urgent full lifting of the embargo, he stressed that it is committed to assuming full security responsibility from ATMIS by 2024 to pave the way for that Mission’s successful exit from Somalia. He further thanked all the troop-contributing countries who have made the ultimate sacrifice in order to restore peace and security.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 10:16 a.m.