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Somalia Announces Deadline for Ethiopian ATMIS Troops Withdrawal Amid Rising Tensions

© AP Photo / Farah Abdi WarsamehSomali security forces guard the entrance to the SYL hotel which was attacked by al-Shabaab Islamic extremist rebels on Tuesday night, in Mogadishu, Somalia Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.
Somali security forces guard the entrance to the SYL hotel which was attacked by al-Shabaab Islamic extremist rebels on Tuesday night, in Mogadishu, Somalia Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 03.06.2024
Ethiopia and Somaliland, an unrecognized breakaway republic in northwest Somalia, signed a memorandum of understanding in January. Under the terms of the agreement, Ethiopia offered Somaliland recognition in exchange for allowing it to establish a naval base and commercial port, which Mogadishu has deemed an unlawful violation of sovereignty.
The Somali administration has set a deadline of December 2024 for the removal of all Ethiopian troops from its territory, Somalia’s National Security Advisor Hussein Sheikh-Ali said.
This decision comes amid ongoing tensions over Ethiopia's port and naval base Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Somaliland, Somalia's breakaway province, and underscores Somalia's commitment to maintaining its sovereignty and control over its internal security matters.
Somalia views the signed MoU as a direct threat to its territorial integrity, which was followed by the expulsion of Ethiopia's ambassador from the country in the early April.
Ethiopian forces have been a part of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), a peacekeeping effort aimed at stabilizing the country and combating terrorist group al-Shabaab*. The withdrawal of these troops has raised concerns in the African Union Peace and Security Council about the possibility of a "security vacuum" and the re-emergence of insurgent groups.
Troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda are part of the ATMIS mission.
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Somalia has asked for a new post-ATMIS mission to serve as a force for local and international community protection in light of these worries. In an effort to maintain stability and security in the region after Ethiopian forces left, Somalia submitted this proposal to the African Union Peace and Security Council in April this year.
Began in spring 2022, ATMIS is anticipated to leave Somalia by the end of December 2024, according to the UN Security Council Resolution 2710 (2023). To assist in defending vital government installations, UN buildings, and major population centers, a post-ATMIS force is being planned.
Last June, ATMIS completed the first phase of its drawdown in Somalia, which involved the withdrawal of 2,000 peacekeepers and the transfer of six bases to Somali security forces in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2670 (2022), which directs the mission to transfer security responsibilities in agreed areas to Somali security forces.
By the end of September 2023, ATMIS was scheduled to remove a further 3,000 troops; but the Somali government requested a three-month extension from the UN Security Council, citing security concerns, thus ending the withdrawal of this military contingent in February 2024.
In total, during the first two phases of the drawdown, 13 military bases were turned over to Somali forces and 5,000 troops left the East African nation.
In February, the planning withdrawal of another 4,000 more troops reportedly scheduled for this June began.
* terrorist organizations banned in Russia and many other countries