23 January 2013

Somalia: Europe Extends Mission to Train Somali Forces, Refocuses Operation

The Council of the European Union has extended its training mission for Somali forces for two more years, the council announced Tuesday (January 22nd).

The European Union Training Mission (EUTM) in Somalia "will continue to contribute to the strengthening of the Somali armed forces so they can ultimately take over security responsibilities", the council said.

However, due to the changing situation in Somalia, EUTM Somalia will refocus its efforts on providing political and strategic advice to the Somali Ministry of Defence, advising on security sector development and providing specialised military training and mentoring.

About 3,000 Somali soldiers have been trained under EUTM Somalia since its launch in February 2010. "EUTM Somalia has provided great assistance to the Somali armed forces," said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton. "All those who have been trained by EU military experts make a real difference on the ground."

EUTM Somalia's training operations will gradually relocate from Bihanga, Uganda, to Somalia depending on security conditions, the statement said. The EU has budgeted 11.6 million euros ($15.5 million) for the programme's operations through March 2015.

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