GOOBJOOG NEWS|WASHINGTON: The U.S has demanded that Somalia holds elections ‘immediately’ warning against grandstanding by the country’s leadership as prospects for a deal thin owing to new political developments this week.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Friday it was time Somali leaders set aside their differences and agree on a roadmap for elections.
“We call on Somalia’s federal and member state leaders to set aside narrow political objectives, uphold their responsibilities to the people of Somalia, and agree to immediately hold transparent and inclusive elections,” Blinken said.
The U.S also said it was ‘deeply concerned that the electoral gridlocks risked ‘creating political uncertainty that threatens security, stability, and development in the country.’
And in what could be a reprimand on outgoing President Mohamed Farmaajo, Secretary Blinken said Somalis had the right to protest peacefully and express their dissatisfaction over the delayed elections.
“The United States supports the right of Somali citizens to protest peacefully and firmly opposes the use of violence by any party.” The Federal Government has barred opposition protests and deployed security forces to disperse protests in recent weeks.
Security forces indiscriminately opened fire at opposition protestors in Mogadishu last month.
The stern statement from the U.S which is a major donor for Somalia comes amid a widening rift between the opposition and Farmaajo. Several electoral talks have not yielded a deal with both sides trading barbs.
The opposition presidential candidates announced a new alliance with Juibbaland and Puntland presidents Thursday and pledged to ‘work’ on delivering elections.
Meanwhile, Farmaajo announced Saturday a new round of talks for Monday. However previous calls for a meeting have not materialised.