By T. Roble
GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: The US and UK have added their voices to growing international threats for sanctions and review of ties with Somalia following the Farmaajo-orchestrated deal to add himself two more years in office.
In separate statements Tuesday, UK and US ministers said they were ‘disappointed’ by the unilateral decision but pledged action against those behind the move to vacate from the electoral pact agreed to by the Federal Government and the Federal Member States in September 2020.
The US was categorical that it would institute measures including sanctions and review of relations with Somalia while the UK opted to engage with the international community in pressing the country’s leadership to toe the line.
Should the unilateral resolution be implemented, U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, the US will be compelled to ‘re-evaluate our bilateral relations with the Federal Government of Somalia, to include diplomatic engagement and assistance, and to consider all available tools, including sanctions and visa restrictions, to respond to efforts to undermine peace and stability.’
Blinken added that the move by parliament to extend the term of Farmaajo by two years is ‘deeply divisive, undermine the federalism process and political reforms that have been at the heart of the country’s progress and partnership with the international community, and divert attention away from countering al-Shabaab.’
In a similar vein, UK Minister for Africa James Duddridge said his country will work with other partners on measures including aid cuts to Somalia.
“In the absence of consensus leading to inclusive and credible elections being held without further delay, the international community’s relationship with Somalia’s leadership will change,” Duddridge said.
“The UK will work with its international partners on a common approach to re-evaluate our relationship and the nature of our assistance to Somalia.”
EU mulls ‘concrete measures’
The remarks from the US and UK follow similar statements from the 27 member European Union which warned Somalia was facing further instability and division in light of the resolution.
“The European Union believes that the passage and signing of this resolution will divide Somalia, impose additional delays and constitute a grave threat to the peace and stability of Somalia and its neighbours,” EU High Representative Josep Borrell said.
The EU also called for ‘immediate return’ to talks based on the September 17, 2020, framework, ‘Failing this, the EU will consider further concrete measures.’
Key target areas by the international community to bring Farmaajo into submission could include and not limited to military and police support, budget and visa restrictions for senior government officials and MPs most of whom carry either UK, US or EU countries passports.
Despite the international calls for a return to talks, Farmaajo who has since been in office illegally for slightly more than two months has remained adamant and went ahead Tuesday night to assent into the Lower House resolution bypassing the Upper House.
Information Minister Osman Dube said Farmaajo signed the illegal resolution. “President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo officially singed (sic) the Special Electoral Law for Federal Election on Tuesday evening. The Parliament voted overwhelmingly this motion on Monday 12.4.2021.”