MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Efforts by the President of Somalia’s north-eastern semi-autonomous region of Puntland Saed Abdullahi Deni to mediate talks between the federal government, opposition leaders and Jubaland President have come to an abrupt end, as tensions over the electoral process risk destabilizing the country.
Saeed Deni has recently spoken on the phone with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, inviting him to join talks aimed to end impasse over upcoming elections while opposition leaders move on with attempts to hold parallel elections, a prospect the US, EU and other Somali international partners sternly warn might plunge the country into a civil war.
Speaking at a recent Somalia Partnership Forum held in the capital Mogadishu, Saeed Deni said he was eager to bring together Somali leaders in a bid to reach broad-based consensus, but argued that Jubaland leader Ahmed Madobe – who has been in a heated dispute with the federal government – was keeping the terms of previous agreement and accused the administration of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo of reneging on it.
Puntland regional officials said on Tuesday that President Farmajo had declined Deni’s offer of mediating talks over the electoral dispute and that the regional leader insisted on keeping pressure on all sides to restore friendly ties and avoid election delay.
Earlier this week, Somalia’s opposition established a parallel electoral body assigned to hold elections after the federal government “ignored to answer” demands for the dissolution of a similar commission appointed by the Somali Prime Minister, which is allegedly composed of intelligence agents, state employees and popular supporters of the incumbent President.
In a stern warning, US ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto has threatened that anyone found disrupting the electoral process will be held accountable and stressed that elections will be held on time in consistence with a deal signed between the federal government and regional states on September.
The federal government still insists on keeping the disputed electoral commission and described opposition statements as mere provocations and attempts to delay elections.
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