On Monday, June 24, the UN Security Council will hold an open briefing followed by closed consultations on the ongoing situation in Somalia.

Key speakers include James Swan, the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of UNSOM, and Mohamed El-Amine Souef, the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson for Somalia and Head of ATMIS. Somalia will also participate under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.

This meeting marks Swan’s first briefing since resuming his role in May. He is expected to provide updates on Somalia’s political, economic, and security status, referencing the latest UNSOM report published on June 3. Significant developments include Somalia’s parliamentary approval of constitutional amendments introducing a one-person, one-vote election system, and direct presidential elections. Additionally, Somalia was recently elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for 2025-26.


Despite progress, challenges remain. Puntland state has withdrawn recognition of the federal government and ceased participation in the National Consultative Council since January 2023. Swan and Council members are likely to emphasize the need for dialogue and inclusive processes to resolve federal and state differences.

Another focal point will be Somalia’s request to terminate UNSOM by October, highlighting its readiness for the transition process. The Council has asked for a detailed transition plan by August’s end.

Tensions with Ethiopia are also escalating due to a January MoU between Ethiopia and Somaliland. Somalia expelled Ethiopia’s Ambassador and closed Ethiopian embassy in April. Ethiopia’s troop withdrawal by December remains contentious, especially for Jubaland and Southwest states.

The security threat from Al-Shabaab, which caused a 104% increase in civilian casualties from IED attacks, will be addressed. Souef will discuss ATMIS’s support for Somali security forces and the drawdown process.

The AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) has endorsed a new AU-led, UN-authorized mission for post-ATMIS security, urging a strong political mandate and comprehensive planning. The AUPSC supports a revised drawdown timeline for ATMIS personnel, suggesting a phased reduction by September.

Monday’s consultations will likely focus on ATMIS’s mandate extension, pending a draft resolution from the UK, the penholder on Somalia.

What’s In Blue: Somalia: Briefing and Consultations

UN Security Council To Hold Briefing And Consultations On Ongoing Situation In Somalia
James Swan, the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of UNSOM

On Monday morning (24 June), the Security Council will convene for an open briefing, followed by closed consultations, on the situation in Somalia. The anticipated briefers are the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) James Swan and Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) Mohamed El-Amine Souef. Somalia is expected to participate under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.

Monday’s meeting will be the first time that Swan—who has previously served as SRSG for Somalia between 2019 and 2022—briefs Council members after assuming his role in May. He is expected to describe the latest political, economic, and security developments in Somalia based on the Secretary-General’s most recent report on UNSOM, which was published on 3 June and covers the period from 25 January to 25 May. On 30 March, Somalia’s bicameral Federal Parliament approved amendments to the first four chapters of the provisional constitution. These amendments, among other things, introduced a one-person and one-vote election system, replacing the clan-based formula traditionally used to organize elections, and provided for direct presidential elections. On 6 June, the UN General Assembly elected Somalia as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for 2025-26, representing the eastern Africa region.

Despite some progress, Somalia continues to face several challenges. In response to the constitutional changes, Puntland state announced on 31 March its decision to withdraw recognition of the federal government of Somalia (FGS). Puntland has also refrained from participating in meetings of the National Consultative Council—which brings together the leaders of the FGS and the federal member states to advance the Somali government’s priorities—since January 2023, when it declared its intention to act independently until the finalization of a new Somali constitution. Swan and several Council members are likely to stress the need for an inclusive and consultative process, while calling on the federal government and federal member states to resolve their differences through dialogue.

At Monday’s meeting, Swan and several Council members may take note of Somalia’s request, contained in a letter circulated to Council members on 8 May, calling for the “swift conclusion of the necessary procedures for the termination” of UNSOM by the end of its mandate in October. In another letter, circulated to Council members on 10 May, Somalia expressed its readiness to engage with relevant stakeholders in the “preparation for the complex transition process within the appropriate timeframe”. It added that the Somali government aims to ensure that the eventual objective of the transition can be achieved through “distinct stages”. The Council responded in a 16 May letter, in which it asked the Secretary-General to ensure that the UN engages promptly with the Somali government to determine the modalities and timeline for the transition. It further requested the Secretary-General to provide the Council with a written update by the end of August. On Monday, Council members may be interested in learning more about Swan’s recent engagement with the Somali authorities, particularly on the framework for transition. Some members may also call on all relevant stakeholders to work in close cooperation to advance Somalia’s key national priorities and reforms and to consolidate progress made in this regard.

Tensions continue to escalate between Ethiopia and Somalia against the backdrop of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland, a self-proclaimed republic in the northern region of Somalia, on 1 January. (For background, see the Somalia brief in our February 2024 Monthly Forecast and 28 January What’s in Blue story.) On 4 April, Somalia announced its decision to expel Ethiopia’s Ambassador in Mogadishu and to close Ethiopian consulates in the cities of Garowe and Hargeisa. On 31 May, Somali National Security Advisor Hussein Sheikh-Ali reportedly said that Somalia expects Ethiopian troops to leave the country by the end of December, when ATMIS is set to complete its drawdown and exit. However, Somalia’s Jubaland and Southwest states reportedly opposed this, underscoring the vital role that these forces play in maintaining security within their respective territories. In addition to ATMIS, an estimated 5,000-7,000 Ethiopian troops are stationed across central and southern regions in Somalia, in line with a bilateral agreement.

Another expected focus of Monday’s meeting is the security threat posed by Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group affiliated with Al-Qaida. During the period covered by the Secretary-General’s 3 June report, UNSOM documented 340 civilian casualties, including 146 fatalities, a 104 percent increase compared to the previous reporting period. The report attributed the increase in civilian casualties to a rise in Al-Shabaab’s use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), with a total of 166 IED attacks recorded.

Souef is expected to focus on ATMIS’ support for the ongoing offensive operations by the Somali security forces to counter Al-Shabaab. He may also elaborate on ATMIS’ drawdown process and on ongoing discussions about post-ATMIS security arrangements. Souef and several members are likely to underline the importance of a smooth transition to consolidate the gains and prevent any security vacuum. Some members may also emphasize the need to ensure predictable and sustainable financing for the follow-on mission. (For more information on Council dynamics on this matter, see the Somalia brief in our June 2024 Monthly Forecast.)

In line with resolution 2710 of 15 November 2023, which extended ATMIS’ authorization until 30 June, the Somali government submitted on 10 April its proposal for post-ATMIS security arrangements to the Council. In a 3 April communiqué, the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) welcomed Somalia’s proposal and requested the AU Commission, the regional organization’s secretariat, to undertake comprehensive and detailed planning based on the situation on the ground. Subsequently, a delegation of the AU’s Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) undertook a visit to Somalia between 24 and 30 April to conduct a technical assessment. Following the visit, it seems that the PSOD delegation briefed the AUPSC in an informal meeting held on 21 May on the assessment of their mission and the strategic concept of operations of the post-ATMIS mission. Although the AUPSC was apparently expected to make a decision about the post-ATMIS mission in May, its consideration of the assessment was delayed.

On 20 June, the AUPSC met to discuss the AU Commission’s report on the joint strategic assessment for the post-ATMIS security arrangements, which was circulated to AUPSC members on the same day. In a communiqué released yesterday (21 June), the AUPSC endorsed the establishment of a new AU-led and UN-authorized mission for Somalia in support of the FGS for post-ATMIS security arrangements. It decided that this mission must be given a strong political mandate, with its scope, size, posture, composition, and duration aligning with existing security threats, as well as the readiness and capacity of the Somali security forces to assume full security responsibilities. The AUPSC requested the AU Commission to develop financing options for this mission, in consultation with the UN, including through Security Council resolution 2719 of 21 December 2023 on the financing of AU-led peace support operations (AUPSOs). It also requested the AU Commission, in consultations with relevant stakeholders, to submit, by the end of July, a concept of operations, including mandate, configuration, and duration of the new mission, as well as timelines for the transition from ATMIS.

The AUPSC also expressed support for the FGS’ request, contained in letters sent to the AUPSC dated 16 and 17 May, for a revised timeline for the drawdown of 4,000 ATMIS personnel, foreseen for June in line with resolution 2710. It expressed support for the drawdown of 2,000 troops by the end of June and of the remaining troops by September.

Council members may wish to use Monday’s consultations to discuss ATMIS’ mandate extension ahead of its 30 June expiry. At the time of writing, the UK (the penholder on Somalia) has yet to circulate a draft resolution on the matter to all Council members.

About What’s In Blue

When the Security Council approaches the final stage of negotiating a draft resolution, the text is printed in blue.

What’s In Blue is a series of insights on evolving Security Council actions designed to help interested UN readers keep up with what might soon be “in blue”.