MOGADISHU, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Tuesday reiterated its commitment to building the capacity of the Somali National Army (SNA), ahead of its planned exit.
AMISOM Force Commander Osman Noor Soubagleh also lauded the cordial working relations between AMISOM and SNA, in the effort to rid the country of Al-Shabaab and to restore peace and stability to the Horn of Africa country.
"As AMISOM we remain committed to supporting the SNA whenever needed, within the available means to ensure a smooth transition," Soubagleh said in a statement released after meeting new SNA Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) Abdiweli Jama Hussein in Mogadishu.
The AMISOM force commander pledged to continue fostering the good working relations.
"Your appointment comes at a time when the focus is on beginning the exit of AMISOM from Somalia and handover to the Somali National Security Forces," he said.
As part of its exit strategy, AMISOM will reduce its troops by 1,000 by December, followed by further cuts next year, an exercise expected to end by 2020.
However, AMISOM's exit is also pegged on the ability of the Somali National Security Forces, particularly the SNA to ably take over the security of the country.
Soubagleh noted that both AMISOM and SNA have a common enemy, the Al-Shabaab militants, who are linked to the recent bomb attack that killed more than 300 people.
Speaking at the meeting, Abdiweli pledged to work closely with AMISOM to build the capacity of the SNA, to enable it to take over the security responsibilities of the country.
"As time approaches for AMISOM to exit, we will continue to work hard together with AMISOM so that the SNA can assume responsibility for the security of the country," he said, stressing the need to eradicate Al-Shabaab to pave the way for a smooth AMISOM exit.