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AU says it requires quality military equipment for efficient operation of AMISOM

(Xinhua)

09:39, August 17, 2011

ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) on Tuesday said it requires military equipment in quantity and quality to help the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) accomplish its mission efficiently.

After holding a closed session on Somalia at the AU Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ramtane Lamamra, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security told Xinhua that Uganda and Burundi have pledged to deploy further troops to AMISOM.

Lamamra said Djibouti is also offering a battalion with one hundred trainers while some countries in the West are eager to contribute troops. According to the Commissioner, it is the equipment AU deadly needs for the mission in Somalia.

Media outlet stated that President Sheik Sharif of Somalia was in Burundi on Monday to request further troops and discuss issues related to security in Somalia and other staff with President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi.

Lamamra said the ceiling of troops for AMISOM is 12,000 and the AU has already had over 9000 troops contributed from Uganda and Burundi.

"We have more pledges from Uganda and Burundi; we already have 9000, and 3000 to the ceiling, and the pledge by the two countries is enough to meet the ceiling, 12, 000," he said.

"The focus now should be on the equipment which is deadly needed for us to make sure that AMISOM will enhance its efficiency, will expand its authority, and will be able to accomplish its mission the best possible condition," said the Commissioner.

He said helicopters, equipment used to attack tactical helicopters and member of engineering equipment are among the military equipment needed for the mission. He also stated that AU is going to organize a two day workshop on Somalia in Addis Ababa, from 17th-18th of August 2011.

"The Workshop will bring together in Addis Ababa AU Headquarters members, partners, and key players in Somalia that is representatives of the international community so that we can assess the new situation based on the ongoing extension of the authority of the TFG all over Mogadishu and the prospects for extension to go beyond the capital in terms of reinforcing and expanding AMISOM in terms of equipment which is needed, human resources, but also in terms of stronger interaction between the UN and the AU and the international community at large so that we can mobilize more resources for the new stage of situation for stable situation in Somalia, " said Lamamra.

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