Somalia: EU Military Chief Lauds AU Peace Efforts in Somalia

The European Union senior military official has lauded peace and stabilization efforts being spearheaded by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in the Horn of Africa nation.

Esa Pulkkinen, director of the European Union Military Planning and Conduct Capability, said Thursday the EU would continue to provide financial support to AMISOM over the next two years to help the mission in its stabilization efforts in Somalia.

He, however, added that sustained funding to the mission, would be dependent on the EU member states' satisfaction with progress made by the peacekeeping mission.

"AMISOM is key to the peace and security of this country and the region," Pulkkinen said, according to a statement issued in Mogadishu by AMISOM.

The EU military official described the AMISOM as an indispensable peace support operation, without which Somalia may not function effectively.

The official, who is also the head of the EU Training Mission in Somalia, Mali and the Republic of Central Africa, met with AMISOM leadership in Mogadishu on Wednesday.

During the meeting, Simon Mulongo, deputy head of AMISOM, 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.

"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 Mulongo.

He conceded that without EU support to AMISOM, the mission in Somalia would not run effectively. The EU is one of AMISOM funders and contributes allowances for AMISOM troops.

"We find ourselves faced with significant inadequacies to be able to sustain those areas of control, moreover, at the same time reducing the numbers," he said.

Mulongo, however, noted that AMISOM planned to step up stabilization programs in newly liberated areas, as part of peace-building and reconciliation initiatives.

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