The European Union 20% cut to AMISOM should not be misconstrued as a sign of bad relations but it was based on competing priorities in Africa and the world in general, EU envoy to Somalia Michele Cervone d’Urso has said.
Despite the cut which took effect in February, Cervone d’Urso said during a press briefing in Mogadishu Tuesday the EU will continue its support to AMISOM in stabilising Somalia.
The envoy said the EU had been engaging other international partners to chip in in supporting AMISOM noting that the AU force must be given the necessary support to effectively complete its mission in Somalia.
“We had a conference on Somalia recently in Istanbul, and this matter came up and we asked other countries, other organizations, to come up and support AMISOM,” he said.
Cervone d’Urso’s comments comes amid concerns by AMISOM and troops contributing countries following the cut which effectively reduced the monthly allowance for each AMISOM soldier to about $600.
Until February, Amisom soldiers received a monthly allowance of $828 after their respective governments deduct a $200 administrative cost per soldier.
Speaking in Djibouti in February during a Troops and Police Contributing Countries to AMISOM summit in February, Kenya’s president said the mandate of funding AMISOM was exceptionally that of the UN Security Council, UNSC and that African countries were under no obligation to take up the role.
“We must remind the world that the primary mandate of promotion of international peace and security all over the world including Somalia still remains with the UNSC,” said the Kenyatta.
Cervone d’Urso however indicated the EU was still committed to maintaining the current levels of support to AMISOM.
Regarding the stabilisation mission in Somalia, the envoy said there was need for a comprehensive approach to addressing the conflict in Somalia, noting that the battle against Al Shabaab requires effort that builds on the military successes.
“We believe that Al Shabaab is not just a military issue, we need to tackle it in a comprehensive manner. Al Shabaab thrives to a certain extent on some grievances,” the EU ambassador added.
If grievances such as poverty and radicalization were addressed, it would not be difficult to deal with Al Shabaab, he observed.