In July 2017 the Peace and Security Council (PSC) discussed the situation in Guinea-Bissau, renewed the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and looked at the security implications of the free movement of goods and people in Africa.
On 11 July the PSC held a meeting on Guinea-Bissau. It supported the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to ensure the implementation of the Conakry Agreement signed on 19 October 2016.
It also called on the international community to mobilise funds to maintain the deployment of the ECOWAS mission in the country. The PSC decided to undertake a field mission this year to follow up on the implementation of relevant African Union (AU) and ECOWAS decisions.
On 12 July the PSC renewed the revised mandate of AMISOM for 12 months, until 31 July 2018. The revised mandate emphasised the need for closer collaboration with and capacity building of the Somali National Security Forces, with an eye to the progressive transfer of responsibilities.
This decision results from the Ten-Year Lessons Learned Study and the AU–United Nations (UN) Joint Review. The PSC asked the AU Commission (AUC) to conduct an updated threat assessment, a review of the operational requirements and a revised transition plan from 2017 to 2021. It also requested both the AUC and AMISOM to complete, in collaboration with the Federal Government of Somalia, a physical verification of the Somali National Army and the Somali Police Force to help identify capability gaps that should be addressed to ensure effective joint operations.
The AUC and the Lake Chad Basin Commission briefed the PSC on 19 July on the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram. The PSC took note of the progress made in putting in place the renewed Support Implementation Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding between the AU Commission and the MNJTF troop-contributing countries. This is in order to streamline additional support to the MNTJF. The PSC also stressed the need to step up efforts to ensure the socio-economic development of the communities liberated from Boko Haram and the rehabilitation of its combatants.
Support for the G5 Sahel force
On 20 July the PSC held a meeting on the situation in Mali and Sahel, renewing its call on stakeholders to implement the Algiers Peace Agreement signed in 2015. It also reiterated its support for the decision by the G5 Sahel states to create a joint force. Finally, the PSC requested the AUC to take the necessary measures to enable the AU Mission in Sahel (MISAHEL) to fulfil its mandate in close collaboration with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN in West Africa and the Sahel.
On the same day, AU High Representative for Libya Jakaya Kikwete briefed the PSC on the situation in Libya and on his activities. The PSC commended the peace and reconciliation efforts of Libyan stakeholders, including Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who is the chair of the AU High Level Committee on Libya. These efforts have yet to bear any fruit.
It also called for better coordination among various actors (the AU, the League of Arab States, the European Union and the UN) in their efforts in Libya. The PSC requested the AUC to take all necessary measures to enhance support for the AU high representative for Libya and the AU office in the country to enable the organisation to play a greater role in solving the conflict.
Free movement of people
On 21 July the PSC held a meeting on the free movement of people in Africa and its impact on peace and security. The PSC urged member states to adopt a common policy in this regard. It stressed the importance of closer collaboration between immigration, defence, security and intelligence services to mitigate security impediments to free movement on the continent. The PSC asked the AUC to provide the necessary technical support to member states to enable them to produce and issue the African passport to their own citizens, and to be regularly updated on the issue.
On 25 July the PSC held a meeting on the regional capabilities of the African Standby Force (ASF). It expressed its appreciation to Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and the Panel of Experts for their willingness to undertake the verification of pledged capabilities. The findings of this exercise will be the subject of a meeting before the submission to the Specialised Technical Committee on Defence, Safety and Security in October 2017. It will then be up to the Executive Council to decide whether to validate and endorse the ASF’s capabilities in January 2018.