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HomeWorldSomali Leaders Walk ‘Back From The Brink’, Resume Talks On Critical Elections

Somali Leaders Walk ‘Back From The Brink’, Resume Talks On Critical Elections


A summit involving leaders of Somalia’s
political factions is underway in Mogadishu, a welcome
relief after months of
escalating
tension
, the senior UN official in the
country told the Security Council on Tuesday, expressing
hope that a consensus on electoral plans will be announced
imminently.

James Swan, UN Special
Representative for Somalia and head of the United Nations
Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM)
, said it is
imperative that the summit yield an implementable agreement
to hold elections in the shortest time
possible.

“Without such an agreement, and the
goodwill and sincerity to implement it, the gains which have
been made in recent years may be reversed, risking further
instability and insecurity”, he warned.

Mounting
tensions

Recounting the political impasse over recent
weeks, Mr. Swan said the talks between Somalia’s Federal
Government and the leaders of its Federal Member States,
which began in March, regrettably broke down in early
April.

The House of the People of the Somali
Parliament then adopted a “Special Law” abandoning a
landmark electoral agreement reached on 17 September 2020,
extending the mandates of current office-holders for up to
two more years.

Opposition to these moves led to the
mobilization of militias and exposed divisions within Somali
security forces. Violent
clashes
ensued on 25 April, risking broader
conflict.

“Since then, Somalia has come back from
the brink of this worst-case scenario”, said Mr. Swan,
recalling that the House of the People reversed
its Special Law on 1 May under intense pressure, finally
easing tensions.

A path forward

Praising
Somali leaders who sought consensus and worked to
de-escalate the situation in the interest of the Somali
people, Mr. Swan said the same spirit of compromise will be
crucial going forward.

President Mohamed Abdullahi
Mohamed “Farmajo” has empowered the Prime Minister,
Mohamed Hussein Roble, to lead the Federal Government’s
involvement in the electoral process and oversee security
arrangements.

Talks at the Mogadishu summit now centre
on resolving outstanding issues related to the
implementation of the 17 September Agreement and matters
related to the upcoming elections.

The United Nations
is supporting arrangements for the summit in close
coordination with the

African Union, the European
Union, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, and
other diplomatic partners.

Security at
risk

Mr. Swan urged Somali leaders to find solutions
in good faith and demonstrate the leadership required at
what he described as an “historic moment” for the
country.

The international community has largely stood
united behind diplomatic efforts to keep the Somali parties
unified and make progress against a more insidious security
threat – namely, the Al Shabaab terrorist
network.

The group continues to demonstrate resilience
and the ability to plan and execute complex attacks across
Somalia, including against civilians. Its leaders claimed
responsibility
for an attack that left five people dead
and dozens more wounded at the Hotel Afrik in Mogadishu on
31 January.

Mr. Swan told the Council that it is now
crucial for the parties to commit to a clear way forward.
“Without this, progress on key national priorities will
continue to be hampered, or worse, reversed, in critical
areas, including in the security, economic and development
sectors,” he
warned.

© Scoop Media

 



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