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The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) yesterday hosted a Ramadan iftar dinner for its key partners  in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

The dinner, attended by dignitaries among them Somalia’s Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, representatives of international organizations and members of the diplomatic corps, was part of celebrations to mark the Mission’s first anniversary since inception a year ago.

Prime Minister Barre who was the guest of honour, thanked ATMIS for hosting the iftar dinner and praised the Mission for its support in securing and stabilizing Somalia.

“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the brave brothers and sisters from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia for their sacrifices and tireless efforts in supporting peace, stability and development in Somalia,” PM Barre said.

“We have accomplished a great deal together and I am confident that we can continue to work together to address the challenges that still lie ahead,” he added.

The Prime Minister noted that the Federal Government had made tremendous progress in implementing its six-pillar programme which focuses on liberation and improved security,  establishment of an independent judiciary, economic self-sufficiency, social development, political inclusivity and stronger foreign relations.

“Somalia is ready to greet the world in a new face and we welcome your support and cooperation to build a peaceful and more prosperous future for Somalia and the region as a whole,” PM Barre told the invited guests.

His  remarks were echoed by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the  African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef  who praised the Federal Government for its positive trajectory in advancing peace and stability in the country.

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He thanked the leadership  of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and ATMIS partners for accepting the dinner invitation adding that the gesture was  proof of the strong relationship that exists between the Mission and its close partners.

“As we celebrate the first anniversary of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, it is encouraging to note that Somalia has made key achievements in the political, security, reconciliation and institution-building processes in the past one year,” said the Ambassador El-Amine.

“Importantly, the Somali Security Forces, with ATMIS support and unprecedented local community participation liberated over 70 towns and villages from the enemy in Hirshabelle and Galmudug States,” the SRCC observed.

He reaffirmed the Mission’s commitment to continue supporting Somalia to achieve lasting stability through the Somalia Transition Plan (STP) and the joint Concept of Operations (CONOPS),  the blueprints guiding the transfer of responsibilities from ATMIS to the FGS.

“Although considerable progress has been achieved in the past year, there is still a long road ahead. I assure the FGS and the people of Somalia that ATMIS remains fully committed to supporting the implementation of the STP and the CONOPS, including the full transfer of security responsibility to the Somali Security Forces (SFF) by December 2024,” SRCC added.

Other top ranking Somali officials who attended the dinner were Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abshir Omar Jama; Minister of Defence, Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur and Minister of Transport and Aviation, Fardowsa Osman Egal. Others were State Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ali Mohamed Omar; Somalia National Security Advisor, Hussein Sheikh Ali and the Deputy Commissioner of the Somali Police Force (SPF) Gen. Zakia Hussein Ahmed.

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Also present were representatives of the United States of America, Qatar, Kenya, Ethiopia, the United Kingdom, the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) and the United Nations among others. Senior ATMIS officers from the military, police and civilian units were also in attendance.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).