By Umar Farooq
WASHINGTON (AA) - The United Nations unanimously approved a resolution Friday to cut the number of peacekeeping troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by 1,000.
The move is part of a longer-term transition plan to allow the creation and growth of a Somali security force.
UN troops in Somalia will be reduced to a maximum level of 19,626 by Feb. 28, 2020 and during that process will mentor Somali soldiers and police in "combat readiness".
The transition was initiated in 2017 and plans to fully hand over control to Somali forces in 2021.
The African Union has raised concerns, however, as Somalia heads to elections next year.
The resolution states that the UN and African Union will work to determine whether a much larger police presence will be needed for the upcoming elections.
AMISOM was established in 2007 with the goal of establishing peacekeeping operations during the latest phase of the country's civil war. It includes troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda who are deployed in south and central Somalia.
"AMISOM shall be authorized to take all necessary measures in full compliance with participating states' obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and in full respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, to carry out its mandate," the resolution said.
The UN has been working to create stability in the country, fighting against al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab, which has been working to overthrow the government in the capital, Mogadishu.