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UPDATE: US, UK urge Somali parliament to annul term extension

Thursday April 29, 2021

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price speaks during a press briefing in Washington, D.C., the U.S., Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (HOL) - The US has called on Somali parliament and president Mohamed Farmaajo to annul the April 12, 2021 resolution by the Lower House, which granted the Farmaajo two more years in office.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement on Thursday that the Biden administration welcomed Farmajo's announcement to accept a return to talks but noted parliament must revoke its own controversial decision that the 275-member chamber voted to pass on April 12.

"The United States notes President Farmaajo's April 28 commitment to return to the September 17 election agreement and resume talks immediately with Federal Member State leaders," Price said. "We call on the President and Parliament to act swiftly to annul the April 12 mandate extension bill."

Price also called on the Federal Member States to return for talks based on the September 17 agreement. However, Puntland has already rejected the call for a sit-down with Farmaajo.

The United Kingdom also released a similarly worded statement on Thursday through the British Embassy in Mogadishu and called on Somalia's leaders to resume dialogue immediately.

"We commend Prime Minister Roble and the Federal Member State leaders for rejecting a mandate extension. We now call on the President and Federal Member State leaders to engage urgently in talks without preconditions. They should come prepared to make necessary compromises and negotiate in good faith."

The UK said it was concerned that failure to resume negotiations could lead to more violence.

"We are gravely concerned that failure to move quickly towards elections could lead to greater insecurity, in Mogadishu and elsewhere, and have serious humanitarian consequences. Violence in Mogadishu has already displaced tens of thousands. Drought compounds the risks to civilian lives and livelihoods."

The statement follows Farmaajo's national address Tuesday where he made an about-face on his extension stance.

"I have decided to appear before the members of the House of the People of the Federal Parliament on Saturday to gain their endorsement for the electoral process that as agreed upon between the Federal Government, the Heads of the Federal Member States and the Governor of BRA," Farmaajo said.

Along with several international partners, the US had heavily criticized Farmajo's government for extending its mandate and publicly warned that it would be forced to reassess its bilateral relationship with Somalia if it did not rescind the extension.  Following a breakout of violence in the capital on Sunday, Ned Price said the  United States was "gravely concerned" and said it would consider 'all available tools' - including sanctions and visa restrictions - to respond to political spoilers.


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