French Defense Minister Hervé Morin wrote three days ago to Sten Tolgfors, his Swedish counterpart (Sweden currently holds the six-month revolving presidency of the European Union) and to Javier Solana, the EU's High Representative for the common foreign and security policy, suggesting that 3,000 more European soldiers be sent to Somalia at the request of and with the support of the Somali government.
Morin says that the EU should extend its current Atalante naval operation protecting shipping from pirate attacks in the western area of the Indian Ocean, and train coast guards and police, strengthen regional maritime capacities and support the AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia). He says that EU involvement in training “robust and operational” Somali security forces could be an “efficient stabilizing move.”
France, at the request of the Somali government, has taken responsibility for training 500 Somali soldiers, 150 of whom have already undergone training at the French military base in Djibouti just north of Somalia. A defense ministry statement says “the result of this first training session is very encouraging.”
Morin says France would take an active part in this European mission notably with instructors and logistical support. The minister has invited interested EU member states to Djibouti to see the training program and decide how they could contribute to a European effort.