MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia government delayed the official opening of meeting between federal and regional leaders due primarily to unresolved tensions and escalating political impasse over a number of issues, officials confirmed on Thursday.
Regional Presidents of Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Puntland, Jubaland and Southwest along with the mayor of Mogadishu and Somalia’s President reconvened in Mogadishu following pressure from representatives of the international community – who pushed for return to talks on elections after Dhusamareb conference failed to produce intended results last month.
As the preliminary meeting was underway at the presidential palace, all the major roads across the capital were closed to traffic along with the presence of hundreds of African Union and Somali government troops throughout the streets of the city. Gunfire was heard at some instances but no major incidents were reported.
Following the preliminary meeting, officials at Villa Somalia said the official opening of the conference between federal and regional leaders aimed to reach consensus on upcoming elections was delayed until Saturday, without further going in detail on what triggered the postponement.
But sources told somaliguardian that the conference was postponed due primarily to unresolved tensions over the presence of hundreds of federal government troops in Gedo region, as the current administration holds tight grip on the region, which had earlier been retaken from Jubaland authorities.
Following a meeting with President Farmajo earlier this week, Jubaland leader Ahmed Madobe stipulated that the government should expedite the withdrawal of Turkish-trained Somali troops from the region as part of de-escalation of military activities before another round of talks could be initiated.
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