The UN is silently working out a new direction for the African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM) locking out the continent’s voice as the mission which has been in operation for over a decade faces an uncertain future amid absence of stability in Somalia.
HOL has learnt that the UN Secretary General António Guterres commissioned a fact finding mission last August to advice on the way forward for the 19,000 strong AU force which is undergoing a phased exit from Somalia. According to a report from the team, Guterres has three options on defining the future for AMISOM.
The authors of the report propose the replacement of AMISOM by a UN operation which would in effect ensure a steady and predictable financing of the mission.
Troops contributing countries have variously urged the UN to take up the full responsibility of funding AMISOM through the UN Security Council which has the overall mandate of maintaining world peace.
Option B, the authors propose would be the adoption a hybrid AU-UN system while the third alternative would be to borrow from the G5 Sahel model which is based on a collective force from a number of African countries fighting Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) alongside French troops.
The proposals have not however had the input of the African Union which has understandably protested the move and refused to cooperate with the fact-finding mission.
Whichever proposal the Secretary General adopts is likely to face tough scrutiny at the UN Security Council especially at a time the US is re-energising its engagement at the international front after four years of detachment thanks to lip-service by the Trump administration.
Joe Biden’s nominee for the UN ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, described as a State Department veteran projects a command of African issues having served as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs between 2013 and 2017.