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EUTRA Somalia mission green light from 27

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(BRUSSELS2) The 27 Ministers of Foreign Affairs (1) should give the “political” green light, Monday January 25, to the EUTRA Somalia mission. “ The Council agreed to establish the military mission (2) to contribute to the training of the Somali security forces ”, according to the draft conclusions that I was able to read. This is a political agreement but not yet formal approval of the decision. This still needs to be worked on, in particular by diplomats from the External Relations group.

Some questions still under discussion. The 27 should thus recognize “ the need for such training as part of a broader international effort ". This effort will include monitoring personnel in training, monitoring and supervising forces after their
return to Mogadishu as well as the financing and payment of soldiers' salaries
". But these questions remain sensitive. And the 27 also agreed that before the launch of the mission, we could find answers "from satisfactorily ».
The EUTRA Mission should be led in close coordination with our partners, including the Transitional Federal Government, Uganda, the African Union, the United Nations and the United States of America »

Starting in May? The mission should aim – initially – to train 4 battalions of the Somali security forces, around 2000 men, training which takes six months. As this blog reported at the beginning of January (***), this mission “ should take place in Uganda ", in Bihanga, where Somali forces are already undergoing training, " which should also facilitate the coordination of EU action with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)”. Ugandans should do basic training. And the Europeans are adding specialized training modules, as this blog has reported (4). Its launch is “ planned for spring 2010 » (May, according to my latest information), at the same time as the training of a contingent of Somali personnel by Ugandan forces begins.

Comment.

Why is a second green light necessary? In November, Ministers approved the concept of crisis management (CMC) and the decision to entrust a group with the task of studying the “possibility” of a mission (2) . We then spoke of a “green light” for the mission (4). But, in fact, if it was the green light for some, it was an orange light for others. This formulation was intended to preserve the reluctance of several member states but, at the same time, to allow progress in the programming of a military mission. It is also rather little
ordinary for a CMC to be so solemnly approved by Ministers. In the meantime, two fact finding missions - exploratory missions visited the site (in Uganda, in Addis Ababa at the headquarters of the African Union, etc.) to study the different modalities. The conclusions published on the 25th therefore testify to a real will taken at 27... Even if minds are not yet quite on the same wavelength...

The positive role of the United States. When she took office, the High Representative of the EU, Catherine Ashton, was rather skeptical about
the usefulness of this mission, as do certain member states (United Kingdom, Netherlands, etc.). But they ended up agreeing to this mission. The American desire to become more involved in the Yemen-Somalia zone, after the last failed attempt on the KLM Amsterdam-Detroit plane, is undoubtedly not unrelated to this “temperament”.

(1) We speak of 27 for convenience, in fact in military missions, there are 26 Member States who decide, Denmark benefiting
of an opt-out.
(2) The Treaty of Lisbon removed the distinction between military operations and civilian missions of the ESDP, we now speak of missions – in both cases – of the CSDP. Likewise, we only talk about “decisions” in matters of foreign policy, whether they are (common) actions or (common) positions.

(3) Read:
Somali military training mission (Eutra): the last line… curved? (January 2010)
(4) Read: Eusecfor Somalia: 14 million euros. And the OHQ in Nairobi?
(5) Read: The 24th Pesd mission “EuSecfor Somalia”: green light Tuesday

(photo: a French officer training Ugandan soldiers who are part of AMISOM – credit: Ministry of Defense Fr. / Dicod)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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