Thank you. Thank you, Commanders for hosting me today in Mogadishu. Thank you to all of you for joining this ceremony.
Mogadishu is a long way from Brussels. I made this long way to come and see you, and the new leadership in Somalia.
Somalia and its broader region remain critical for [the] Europeans’ security and interests. This is why we are deploying here three missions [and operations] of our Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). And the European Union’s Delegation need to continue working side by side in Somalia. And this is why the European Union needs to sustain its efforts in this difficult and troubled part of the world.
But every policy needs men and women to implement it, and your personal efforts are crucial to implement this strategy.
I commend your commitment and your hard work here in Mogadishu – I know that it must be difficult -, but also in Hargeisa, Garowe and Berbera. I know that it takes courage and resilience. And on behalf of the European Union, I have to thank you.
Your dedication to promote and to protect the European Union’s values and interests here in Somalia, and in the region, is fully recognised in Brussels and across the European Union Member States.
It is difficult, but we need to continue. We need you to continue to strive for tangible results.
I just had a meeting with the Somali President [Hassan Sheikh Mohamud] and recalled to him that the EU Training Mission (EUTM) has already trained 8,000 Somali military [personnel] so far. And thanks to this mission and thanks to your work, the Somali National Army has increased its capacity to train its personnel by itself. Because we hope that we are not going to stay here forever, and they should be able to take their responsibilities. Recently, it took responsibility for a fully manned and equipped training centre in Mogadishu.
Another tangible action on which we need to continue to build: two out of the four Somali National Army Battalions trained by us – by you, by this mission – have received equipment funded by the African Peace Facility. And now, with the European Peace Facility – a new financial tool – we are scaling up this support.
And a last example that comes to my mind: in the port of Mogadishu, the EU Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia) has considerably improved the efficiency and the working conditions for the Maritime Police Unit. I know that is not enough, and the Somalis are far away from being able to replace the EU Naval Force Somalia – Operation ATALANTA. But we have to look for an exit for the EU Naval Force Somalia – Operation ATALANTA.
In the meantime, EU Naval Force Somalia – Operation ATALANTA’s contribution to maritime security on the coast of Somalia and the EUCAP [Somalia]’s efforts on shore to build the capacity of the Coast Guards and police continue and are mutually reinforcing.
When I will come back to Brussels, I will recommend the Member States to extend the mandate of [EUCAP Somalia and EUTM Somalia] missions by two years. This is part of our strategic engagement in Somalia.
In the next two years, your missions will need to continue demonstrating professionalism and ambition; striving for concrete results. Neither EUTM [Somalia] nor EUCAP [Somalia] have yet fulfilled all their objectives – this is certainly an understatement.
We have to continue. And I have discussed with the Somali President the reason why this is the case and the challenges facing Somalia and its security sector, in particular.
I told the President that our objective is to continue to strengthen the security institutions while diminishing gradually our support to the African Union-led operation – the so-called ATMIS (African Union Transition Mission in Somalia).
Somalia needs to take full ownership for its own security by the end of 2024. I assured the President that you would stand by the [Somali National] Army, by the Police and the Coast Guards of Somalia to help them to fulfil this objective.
This is critical for Somalia in the first place, but it is also critical for European security. Our fellow citizens should know that their security starts far away from our borders. The security of Europe starts also in Mogadishu. That is why your missions, and your daily work, are so important.
It was my honour to be here in Mogadishu today with so many men and women in uniform, as well as civilians serving this objective.
Thank you for that and keep up the good work.
Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0)460 75 45 53
JENNIFER SÁNCHEZ DA SILVA
Press Officer for International Partnerships/Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0) 229 58316