MOGADISHU, May 17 (Xinhua) — A high-level delegation consisting of members including a senior African Union (AU) envoy, military officials of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), and a Chinese envoy visited Baidoa in the South West State of Somalia, where they discussed political reconciliation, humanitarian efforts, security and the ongoing fight against al-Shabaab, the AU mission said Wednesday.
The delegation led by Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia Mohammed El-Amine Souef, and Chinese Ambassador to Somalia Fei Shengchao discussed the upcoming ATMIS troop drawdown from Somalia and the preparations underway to meet the June deadline, the AU mission said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
Souef said the drawdown or troop withdrawal is in compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670, which require ATMIS to reduce its forces and gradually hand over security responsibilities to the Somali Security Forces.
“We discussed the security situation, territorial integrity, support for both the ongoing stabilization efforts launched by the Federal Government of Somalia and the fight against al-Shabaab,” he said during their meeting with South West State President Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed and members of his administration and representatives of civil society groups Tuesday.
Fei lauded ATMIS, Somali security forces and the South West State leadership for their commitment and collaboration to restore security and stability in the state.
Fei reaffirmed China’s support for the ongoing security and peacebuilding efforts.
“We are committed and believe that no matter how hard it is, it is important that we invest together with Somalia and international partners in peace, stability, and prosperity to support Africa,” the Chinese ambassador said.
Under the ATMIS military sectorization, Baidoa is the headquarters of Sector Three which is manned by Ethiopian troops.
“I am encouraged by what I heard from the South West State president, the local authorities, and the regional police commissioner that ATMIS troops conduct daily joint operations with the local forces to secure the state. The operations are critical,” Souef said.
The local forces work collaboratively with a contingent of ATMIS Formed Police Unit officers from Ghana and Individual Police Officers.
Souef commended the Ethiopian troops and Ghanaian police personnel for their remarkable contributions to security threats posed by al-Shabaab through tactical and routine operations, training and mentoring Somali Security Forces, and securing population centers and all airport locations to facilitate both economic and humanitarian access.
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