The Kenya military is set to benefit from the United States financial
assistance once it is fully integrated into the African Union Mission in
Somalia (Amisom), an envoy has said.
US special representative to Somalia James Swan said Tuesday his country has
given US$340 million in voluntary assistance to countries that have
contributed troops to Amisom since 2007.
"The cost of an expanded Amisom, augmented troop levels and associated
logistics included, will significantly increase the assessed costs for all
UN member states. Furthermore, with the proposed troop increase, the donor
community will be faced with tens of millions in additional bilateral costs
to train and equip the new forces," Mr Swan said.
Asked by the Nation during a teleconference at the US Embassy in Nairobi
whether the US is going to give specific assistance to the Kenya Defence
Forces in the war against Al-Shabaab militia, Mr Swan said the help would
come through Amisom once they are re-hatted.
The envoy said the US takes a comprehensive approach to Somalia that
reflects the inter-related security, political, and humanitarian development
"Improving security, stability, and governance in Somalia is central to
addressing many related concerns-including piracy, terrorism, human rights
abuses, and under-development. The United States' approach places Somalis
and Africans in the lead, and looks to regional organisations such as the
African Union as a guide," Mr Swan said.
Separately, the United Nations Security Council is scheduled to act
Wednesday on a plan to integrate some 2,500 Kenyan troops into Amisom.
Kenya UN Ambassador Macharia Kamau says he expects the Security Council to
approve the plan despite misgivings about its cost that have reportedly been
expressed by France, one of the council's five permanent members.
"Kenya has been carrying the full burden of the international community's
responsibility in southeastern Somalia," Ambassador Kamau told the Nation
last week. "We would like to have this burden shared as soon as possible."
"What we're proposing in Somalia is considerably less expensive" than the
recent UN-supported intervention in Libya by France and other Nato
countries, the ambassador added. "The Amisom plan is very cost-efficient."
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for Amisom troop strength to nearly
double, reaching a total of 17,700 soldiers, including the Kenyans.
Uganda and Burundi account for most of the 9,000 troops currently operating
in Somalia under Amisom.
Mr Swan was hopeful the current efforts to ensure peace and stability in
Somalia would succeed.
He said the international community must assist the Transitional Federal
Government national security forces in developing more efficient and capable
security sector "to withstand the security challenges that face Somalia
Saying Amisom and TFG forces had managed to wipe out Al-Shaabab in most
parts of Mogadishu and outside the city, Mr Swan said "it is time to build
on AMISOM's successes".
"Amisom now has the opportunity to contribute to a multi-front operation to
stabilise the situation in Somalia, help end Al-Shabaab's imposition of
draconian social control on subject populations, and overturn its ban on
delivery of vital humanitarian relief," Mr Swan said.
The envoy added: "To this end, we support in principle an expansion of
Amisom's mandate and a commensurate increase in its force levels, along with
Mr Swan said ways should be agreed upon how to govern and assist in areas
recaptured from Al-Shabaab to avoid a security and governance vacuum in
these locations, and to provide a rapid recovery where Al-Shabaab has left.
He welcomed the London Conference on Somalia set for Wednesday saying it is
an occasion to galvanise high-level international attention for Somalia.
He said the US supports the agenda to address key issues including support
for Amisom and TFG security forces; political reforms to end the transition;
local administration and stabilisation programs; improved transparency and
accountability; enhancement of counter-terrorism and counter piracy
measures; a reaffirmed commitment to humanitarian response; and refinement
of international architecture to guide future collective efforts in Somalia.
Additional reporting by Kevin Kelley
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Received on Tue Feb 21 2012 - 18:13:53 EST