Mogadishu – The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), in conjunction with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the UN, the European Union and other key international partners, have established a Transition Core Group, which is tasked with the responsibility of developing a transition plan for Somalia.

Headed by the National Security Advisor (NSA) to the President of the Federal Government, the Transition Core Group’s Terms of Reference include assisting with transition approaches, and delivering a draft transition plan, by March this year.

The group, whose primary objectives will be to assist the President and the Prime Minister take the lead in the transition process, is expected to deliver a “realistic, phased and conditions-based” transition, with feasible dates, for the transfer of the national security responsibility from AMISOM, to the Somali Security Forces.

“It is about organized, gradual, systematic transfer of responsibility to FGS by AMISOM,” emphasized AMISOM Deputy Head of Mission Simon Mulongo, at a security sector cluster meeting, convened in the capital Mogadishu on Monday, to discuss the transition planning.

The meeting co-chaired by Mr. Mulongo and Prime Minister H.E Hassan Ali Khaire, agreed that the Transition Core Group also ensures coordination between the FGS, the Federal Member States (FMS) and the international community.

A planning process in consultation with the FGS, FMS, the Benadir Regional Administration and AMISOM shall inform the aim, structure and coordination mechanisms for the transition.

“(The) AU welcomes this transition initiative,” noted Mr. Mulongo.

“AMISOM has already embarked on the exercise through ongoing CAS (Comprehensive Approach to Security) processes,” he added, even as he stressed the need to employ a “process driven by local conditions”, with consideration of the “regional security dimension”.

Mulongo emphasized the need for effective and sustainable support, as a key prerequisite to a successful transition plan. “Without a doubt, the critical weaknesses and gaps identified by the ORA exercise, requires that AMISOM is enabled to perform its roles more effectively,” he said.

“The long standing pledges of force enablers and force multipliers cannot be over-emphasized here. To overcome the current strategic operational gaps by AMISOM forces, it is by necessity that the said strategic resources are provided by the international community, to speed up the transition process,” Mulongo emphasized.

As a pre-condition to the transition process, AMISOM asked the transition planning meeting to adopt principles that will determine the performance of the transition, including evaluating Force, resource levels and force enablers. Mulongo urged “undivided commitment” by the political leadership at the federal and state-level towards AMISOM and a transition model that factors in the 2021 elections, as well as already liberated areas and ground under control of AMISOM/SNA, against the critical timelines.

“The AU/AMISOM welcomes the transition planning in which the Somali and the FGS will gradually and steadily take over the security responsibility,” he said.

“We need it at the earliest practical time when the gains made shall not be lost,” he added and stressed that the success of the transition will “depend on the enabling political environment by the FGS” and “unreserved full logistic and financial support” to AMISOM and the Somali National Security Forces (SNSF).

The international community welcomed the transition plan process and pledged to support both AMISOM and the Somalia security forces to deliver. The EU representative said that “with this plan, we can rally support for AMISOM”.

The EU is said to have expressed interest in continuing support for AMISOM, with an intention to expand the support to include stabilization.

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