EU approves mission to train Somali army
Jan 25, 2010, 12:46 GMT
Brussels - The European Union is to send soldiers to Uganda in the spring to train Somalia's security forces, EU foreign ministers decided Monday in Brussels.
Europe is growing increasingly concerned about the stability of the Somali interim government in the face of attacks from militants.
The council of EU member states 'remained concerned about the situation in Somalia and its regional implications' and 'agreed to set up a military mission to contribute to the training of the Somali security forces,' ministers said in a joint statement.
The mission would run alongside efforts by other players, such as the African Union, the United Nations and the United States, to help set up, train and fund Somalia's security forces.
It would be launched 'with the next intake of trainees, scheduled to start in spring 2010,' the statement said.
EU diplomats on Monday said that the aim of the mission would be to train around 2,000 soldiers, and that it would probably begin work in May.
The Somali government has asked for international help to train around 6,000 troops. France, Uganda and Djibouti have already begun their own training missions, which are estimated to be capable of training some 4,000 troops.
The EU has also sent a fleet of warships to the waters off Somalia's coast to help crack down on piracy there and to protect UN aid shipments.