MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Talks between Somalia’s federal and regional leaders have kicked off in the capital Mogadishu on Saturday morning in what the country’s international partners termed as “critical opportunity” to head to quick elections as stalemate over the electoral process drags on.
Leaders of the country’s 5 regional states, the prime minister and the mayor of Mogadishu gathered for last-minute talks aimed at ending a long-running dispute over the elections at the heavily fortified Afisyoni base in Mogadishu.
In a statement issued on Friday, the country’s international partners expressed hope that the new round will defuse tensions, leading to an agreement based on the September 17 deal, and repeated that they would not accept parallel or partial polls.
There are a number of key sticking points that earlier led the leaders to walk away from previous summits, including government’s control over Gedo region, electoral commission that was allegedly stacked with loyalists of the outgoing president and the selection of MPs from the break-away region of Somaliland.
Somalia’s former prime minister Omar Abdirashid said that the summit will enable an inclusive political transition if the disputing sides show needed political will.
“Today’s conference is critical for the electoral process that will enable an inclusive political transition,” former prime minister Omar Abdirashid tweeted.
“Am hopeful this time the PM and the FMS leaders will demonstrate the political will necessary to reach an agreement on all standing issues and on implementation aspect.”
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