AU Special Representative to Somalia, Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef, and Somalia’s Federal Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism, Daud Aweis, recently held a joint press conference to give an update on the progress made in the fight against Al-Shabaab. During the conference, the two officials expressed their satisfaction with the ongoing military offensive against the terrorist group and highlighted the government’s efforts in restoring peace and security in Somalia.
Minister Aweis announced that the Federal Parliament had passed a National Act establishing the National Intelligence Security Agency (NISA) which will play a key role in the fight against Al-Shabaab by improving intelligence gathering. The Minister also reported that the government had made significant progress in weakening Al-Shabaab’s financial strength, thanks to the support of the people.
In addition, the Federal Minister expressed his optimism about Somalia joining the East African Community (EAC) following the successful conclusion of the verification process. The verification team believes that Somalia is well prepared to become a full member of the EAC after the process in Mogadishu.
Ambassador Souef praised the recently concluded Southwest State Reconciliation Conference and commended the Somali Security Forces and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) for providing security during the conference and ensuring peace. He also emphasized the importance of close collaboration between ATMIS and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) in eliminating Al-Shabaab and its allies.
Both officials agreed to advance the case of Somalia during the upcoming African Union Annual Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 15-19 February and called for the cessation of hostilities in Las Anood, Sool region. They urged all stakeholders to embrace dialogue and find a lasting solution to the current political crisis.