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Somalia requests UN to end political mission as Al-Shabab attacks increase

AP   -  
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Bebeto Matthews/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


Somalia has formally requested the United Nations to terminate its political mission within the country, citing strategic priorities in the face of ongoing attacks by the al-Qaida-linked extremist group, al-Shabab.

In a letter addressed to the Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Somali Foreign Minister Ahmed Moalim Fiqi expressed the government's decision following careful consideration of their strategic objectives. The current mandate of the mission, known as UNSOM, is set to expire on October 31st, prompting Fiqi's call for swift procedures to conclude the mission by then.

Th mission has played a significant role in collaborating with African Union peacekeepers, with its mandate encompassing support for peace and reconciliation efforts, strategic policy advice, and promotion of human rights and gender equality.

Acknowledging UNSOM's contribution, Fiqi expressed gratitude for its role in promoting peace and stability in Somalia. He emphasized the government's commitment to transitioning to the next phase of partnership with the UN, focusing on long-term development priorities.

In a subsequent letter dated May 9th, Fiqi affirmed the government's readiness to engage in a planning process for transitioning from a political mission to a UN country team, which typically focuses on development issues. This transition, Fiqi stressed, should be carefully planned and initiated promptly.

The request for mission termination comes amidst intensified attacks by al-Shabab, prompting international efforts to bolster Somalia's security capabilities. In mid-February, the United States announced plans to build up to five military bases for the Somali army, aiming to strengthen its capacity to combat threats posed by the extremist group.

The Danab Brigade, established in 2017 through a US-Somalia agreement, has been instrumental in responding to al-Shabab attacks, serving as a rapid-response force in efforts to counter extremist activities.

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