By Zahra Rashid
Friday, December 21, 2012
Nairobi, Kenya - UN Security Council (UNSC) granted the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) a fresh mandate to be in Somalia after the Kenyan and Somali governments jointly pushed for the approval.
The Council extended the mandate for AMISOM consisting of over 17,600 peacekeepers, in November for four months until March 7, so that the AMISOM would combat the Al-Qaeda linked militia group, Al-Shabaab.
On Friday, Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud visited Nairobi for the first time, at the invitation of the Kenyan government, since he was elected president of the war-torn country and meet his Kenyan counterpart Mwai Kibaki at State House.
The two statesmen called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to extend the authority for the forces, arguing it would sustain the road to stability, for a country that got bruised by the two-decade civil war.
The two governments said the AMISOM had already contributed to Somalia's pursuit of peace and that it would be important for the forces to continue staying longer.
At the time, UNSC argued it needed time for a review of operations by the forces that included considering whether to lift an arms embargo and resumption of charcoal trade in the newly liberated Kismayu port.
UNSC provided the forces with the mandate to help rebuild Somali itself and its neighbours, a, long bruised by the two-decade’ civil war.
The Council however did not lift the ban it imposed on Somalia for importing arms in 1992, arguing it would empower feuding clans to escalate the conflict, after the fall of the late Siad Barre.
Addressing the issue on registration of Somali refugees in Kenya, the two leaders stated they "acknowledged" the situation of refugees living in camps and said they would work with the international community to return them to Somalia.