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Opposition-bloc pens a message to UN Security Council ahead of closed-door meeting on Somalia

Tuesday April 20, 2021

The NSF at a meeting in Mogadishu on March 18, 2021. FILE PHOTO

Mogadishu (HOL) - The National Salvation Forum (NSF), a coalition of opposition leaders and regional heads, sent a letter to the UN Security Council on Monday urging the world body to reject President Farmajo's term extension ahead of a meeting to discuss Somalia's political situation.

The NSF is made up of Puntland, Jubaland, the Council of Presidential Candidates and the Somaliland Political Council. The group is chaired by the Speaker of the Upper House of Parliament.

The letter was addressed to Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, the Permanent Representative of Viet Nam to the UN and current President of the UN Security Council.

The letter said they welcomed the Council member's disapproval of President Farmajo's term extension and warned it would reverse hard-won gains in Somalia.

"We are aware and would like to share our appreciation for those members of the council who have expressed their disappointment at the former president's decision to postpone elections and extend his own rule by two years. The NSF therefore strongly urges the council, in its entirety, to categorically reject this illegal and unconstitutional move, which threatens to unravel Somalia's hard-won progress towards peace and stability and plunge the nation back into political fragmentation and armed conflict."

The letter said that under Farmajo's tutelage, Somalia has stalled in completing the constitution, and democratic institutions are being dismantled.

The NSF has informed the security council that they do not recognize the decision by Somalia's lower house to extend the mandates for the executive and legislative branches of government. It added that the extension is an attempt to divert the country away from the September 17 agreement.

The NSF suggested that it might form a parallel government.

"The Forum, in consultation with the various sections of the Somali society, will take necessary steps against an unconstitutional term extension and take measures to find a solution for the transition period."

They added that the forum is dedicated to restoring constitutional order and the rule of law through peaceful means but would explore "all means at our disposal."

"If the former president does not withdraw his claim to office and consent to a natural, impartial, and independent process of negotiations leading to elections based on 17 September agreement of electoral model, we will have no choice but to explore all means at our disposal to save our country from certain disaster and find a solution for the transition period."

The NSF letter comes as the UN Security Council is expected to host an informal interactive dialogue (IID) on the tense political situation in Somalia on Tuesday. The meeting was called by the UK, the penholder on the Somalia file at the Security Council. An IID is an off-the-record conversation among Council members and member states which involves high-level representation. The Council presidency chairs the meetings. The last time an IID was held on Somalia was on January 20 to discuss poll delays in federal and parliamentary elections.

Last Week James Duddridge, The British is the Minister for Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), said that the United Kingdom was "dismayed" and warned that a unilateral extension was damaged the credibility of Somalia's leadership.

The meeting is expected to hear from several briefers including James Swan, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM); Ambassador Abukar Dahir Osman, the Permanent Representative of Somalia to the UN; Workneh Gebeyehu, the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD); Bankole Adeoye, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security; and Rita Laranjinha, the EU Managing Director for Africa.

It is expected that many of the Council members - namely the UK and US - who have been public in their criticism for the term extension will reiterate that they wish to see a return to the September 17 agreement. They may also elaborate on how they will reassess their bilateral relationship with Somalia. They may also exert more pressure on the federal government to accept an external mediator in the talks between regional member states.

In recent developments, President Farmajo travelled to the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo over the weekend and invited the African Union to facilitate talks with stakeholders after meeting with President Felix Tshisekedi, who is also the 2021 African Union Chairperson. Following the trip, Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Abdirizak said that the government's position on extension has not changed and that they will move towards organizing free elections.


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