NAIROBI, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The European Union has provided additional support of 33 million euros to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to help secure lasting peace in the Horn of Africa nation.
The EU said in a statement on Wednesday that the renewed EU support will allow AMISOM to continue to fulfill its mandate and to reach its total strength of 17,731 troops as authorized by the UN.
"The EU's support covers costs such as troop allowances, costs of the police and civilian component of the mission, and operational costs of the mission headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya," said the EU in a statement issued in Nairobi.
The statement comes after the UN Security Council extended for another year the mandate of the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia, as it continues to consider a revised United Nations presence there, and partially lifted the 20-year-old arms embargo imposed on the country.
In a unanimously adopted resolution on March 6, the Council also requested Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to continue the UN logistical support package for the AMISOM, which will continue its tasks until February 28, 2014.
Created and operated by the AU in January 2007, AMISOM received a UN mandate from the Security Council the following month, and has been renewed ever since.
It is mandated to conduct peace support operations in Somalia, which has been affected by conflict for more than two decades but which has recently made some significant political gains.
The latest new funding brings the overall EU contribution to over 444 million Euros since 2007.
Since late 2011, substantial progress has been achieved, as AMISOM, the Somali National Security Forces and troops aligned to the Somali Government have regained control of most of the capital of Mogadishu and other parts of the country.
High Representative Vice President Catherine Ashton said supporting AMISOM is a key element of the EU's comprehensive approach to Somalia, assuring the security necessary for the federal government of Somalia to provide governance, re-establish the rule of law and provide basic social services to the people.
"AMISOM will remain important as Somalia, with support from the EU and other partners, develops its capabilities and assumes responsibility for its own security. Following the appointment of the new President and government last August, the EU remains committed to supporting Somalia further develop its new political order," she said.
Since its beginning, the EU has been one of the main funders of the operation, both through the African Peace Facility (APF), which is the EU's main instrument to support Peace and Security in Africa, and through bilateral contributions of its Member States.
The EU trains Somalia's national security forces through its Training Mission (EUTM Somalia) under its Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP). Through this mission, the EU aims to help develop Somalia's security sector to ultimately hand over security responsibility to Somalis.
The mission is also contributing to the Africa-EU partnership on peace and security of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES). The strategy, adopted at the Lisbon Summit in December 2007, remains the overarching policy framework for EU-Africa relations.
The JAES puts EU-Africa relations on a new footing, based on the pursuit of shared values and common interests. Both sides are determined to strengthen their cooperation as equal partners, based on this shared long-term vision for EU-Africa relations in a globalized world.
EU Commissioner for Development said Andris Piebalgs said the EU is committed to continue its support to Somalia to help Somalis to overcome the remaining challenges not only in the field of peace and security but also for example by improving food security, strengthening the rule of law and creating better schools for children.
"AMISOM continues to play a critical role in establishing a safer and more secure environment in Somalia to the benefit of the Somali people and the development of the country as a whole," Piebalgs said.