MOGADISHU, Somali – The European Union (EU) Military and Conduct Capability Director, Lt. Gen. Esa Pulkkinen, has described the African Union Mission in Somalia as an indispensable peace support operation, without which the Horn of Africa country may not function optimally.
The EU military top official, who is also the Head of Mission of the EU Training Mission in Somalia, Mali and the Republic of Central Africa, met with the leadership of AMISOM on Wednesday in Mogadishu.
“AMISOM is key to the peace and security of this country and the region,” Lt. Gen. Pulkkinen told his hosts, who included the Deputy AU Special Representative for Somalia, Simon Mulongo, Deputy Force Commander in-charge of Operations and Plans, Major Gen. Charles Tai Gituai, and Acting AMISOM Police Commissioner, Christine Alalo.
He disclosed that the European Union would continue to provide financial support to AMISOM over the next two years. He, however, added that sustained funding to the Mission would be dependent on the EU member states’ satisfaction with the progress made by the peacekeeping mission. The European Union is one of AMISOM’s biggest funders and contributes allowances to its troops.
“The stability of Somalia is fundamental not just to Somalis themselves; but the region and the international community. And so if we prematurely curtail or hamper the successes, it could be counterproductive,” said Mr. Mulongo, the Deputy Head of the AU Mission in Somalia.
While recognizing the European Union as a key partner to the African Union, Mr. Mulongo conceded that without EU support to AMISOM, the mission in Somalia would not run effectively.
Mulongo highlighted the successes made by AMISOM, while at the same time citing the challenges the Mission is facing in maintaining control over its Areas of Responsibility.
“We find ourselves faced with significant inadequacies to be able to sustain those areas of control, moreover, at the same time reducing the numbers,” Mulongo stated.
The Deputy Head of Mission, however, noted, that AMISOM planned to step up stabilization programmes in newly liberated areas, as part of peacebuilding and reconciliation initiatives. Maj. Gen. Gituai, briefed the visiting EU official about the process of operationalizing the recently endorsed Concept of Operations (CONOPs) document and planned military operations.