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We Have Enough Troops, AU Official Says of Somalia Peace Mission


The 70th meeting of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council convenes Monday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. This would be the Commission’s first meeting since the African Union Summit last month. Monday’s meeting comes at a time that the African Union is in need of peacekeepers for Somalia.

Said Djinnit is Commissioner of the AU’s Peace and Security Council. He said Monday’s meeting will focus on the deteriorating relations between Chad and Sudan.

“The meeting of the Peace and Security Council of Monday is expected to consider the situation in relations between Chad and Sudan. The issue was discussed at the last summit of heads of state and government; the issue was brought to the attention of the leaders, and it was decided that the Peace and Security Council should meet urgently to discuss the matter,” he said.

At last month’s African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Chad was instrumental in denying the AU chairmanship to Sudan. Djinnit said the deteriorating relations between the two countries are a matter of serious concern to the African Union.

“As you know, the deterioration of the situation between the two countries is related to the situation in Darfur, which is a common area for the both countries. So unfortunately, in relations with the situation in Darfur and other problems most probably, the situation between the two countries has deteriorated considerably to the extent that at some point the severe diplomatic relations has changed a lot of things. It’s a matter of serious concern,” Djinnit said.

On Somalia, Djinnit said the AU is focusing its efforts on the deployment of the peacekeeping mission which was approved by the recent summit. He said the AU is making progress in getting troops ready for the Somalia mission.

“We are indeed making progress because we have enough troops to start the operation definitely. As you know, it was provided in the concept of an operation which has been adopted by the Peace and Security Council that as part of the deployment of the nine battalions, three should be deployed as a matter of urgency. So, we have the three battalions, and we are beyond three battalions. We are more than half way. But the biggest problem we are faced with is meeting the conditions – the logistical and financial conditions for the deployment,” he said.

Djinnit said the Peace and Security Council will meet Monday with troop contributing countries and African and non-African partners who are willing to contribute to the logistics and financial aspects to facilitate the deployment of the Somalia peacekeeping mission.

Djinnit said although the AU did not plan to undertake two major peacekeeping operations at the same time in Darfur and now Somalia, it has no choice but to be seen as trying to help.

“The situation in Somalia is considered by everybody as a unique opportunity that is provided for the Somalis and the people within the region and the international community to help the Somalis. So we are there. But you should know that the deployment envisaged in Somalia is better than the different concept of logistics, which is essentially self-sustained contingent by member states so that the management responsibility of the African Union Commission would be considerably reduced,” Djinnit said.