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Somalia Requests End To UN Political Mission

SOMALIA’S government has formally requested the termination of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), a political advisory mission that has guided the country on peace-building, security reforms, and democracy for over a decade. The request, outlined in a letter from Foreign Minister Aimed Moa Fiji to the Security Council, calls for the departure of UNSOM’s 360 members when its mandate expires in October.

According to three UN officials who spoke with Reuters anonymously, the request caught the mission by surprise. Despite enduring conflict since 1991, including a prolonged insurgency by al Qaeda-linked militants, Somalia has made strides in restoring services and enhancing security. Nonetheless, the nation of 17 million remains among the most violent and impoverished globally.


The conclusion of UNSOM’s political mission stands apart from the UN-mandated African Union peacekeeping mission, currently comprising over 10,000 soldiers, which is scheduled to withdraw and transition responsibilities to the Somali state by year-end.

Minister Aimed Moa Fiji’s letter did not specify reasons for the request, stating only that the government deems it appropriate to progress to the next phase of partnership. A presidential adviser affirmed the letter’s authenticity, indicating that Somalia no longer requires UN coordination support as facilitated by UNSOM.

‘UNSOM played a critical role, but now it outlived its usefulness,’ the adviser remarked, noting the mission’s annual cost of $100 million.

Somalia analyst Matt Bryden highlighted previous government accusations of UNSOM interference in internal affairs. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s reforms aim to centralise authority through constitutional revisions, contrasting with UNSOM’s efforts to balance federal and state interests.

‘We should expect more assertive and unilateral FGS (federal government of Somalia) initiatives with respect to constitutional revisions, federalism, and elections,’ Bryden commented.

Responding to the request, UNSOM described it as ‘a testament to the work of UNSOM in support of the Somali authorities these past years.’ The mission clarified that other UN offices, including humanitarian agencies, will continue operations in Somalia.

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