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Opposition calls off anti-government protest after striking deal with PM Roble

Friday February 26, 2021

Mogadishu (HOL) - Talks between the federal government and the opposition candidates made a breakthrough on Thursday after meeting in Mogadishu, potentially averting another bloody day of protests.

PM Roble met with the Council of Presidential Candidates at Decale Hotel inside Aden Abdulle International Airport, where they discussed roadblocks to the electoral process. The talks were brokered by the Presidents of Galmudug, Hirshabelle and the Governor of Banadir.

They emerged from the meeting, with the opposition agreeing to postpone a planned demonstration due to take place in Mogadishu on Friday in exchange for concessions from the federal government.

Among them, PM Roble formally expressed "regret" on behalf of the federal government for its involvement in a crackdown on demonstrators and candidates last Friday.

The opposition leaders previously claimed that President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is sitting in office without a constitutional mandate, which expired on February 8.

The council agreed to delay their march for ten days while allowing the federal government to appoint an independent committee to investigate the incident. The federal government also reaffirmed the people's right to protest.

PM Roble pushed back on firing the military commanders heading those units.

"I am pleased to address today the issues on February 19 incidents, security and elections. Thanks to the Union of Candidates for their flexibility and to President Mohamed Farmaajo, the Presidents of Galmudug, Hirshabelle and Benadir Governor for their contribution to the solution," Roble tweeted on Thursday night.

"I call upon all to support it."

The deal was welcomed by President Farmajo, who commended the PM for maneuvring an agreement with the opposition. Farmajo was not directly involved in the agreement.

"The President commended the FGS Prime Minister, HE Mohamed Hussein Roble, for his commitment to the collective agreement and the overall management of the electoral process and his commitment to the implementation of the September 17 Agreement reached by the Federal Government of Somalia. and the Member States, passed by both Houses of Parliament."

It was also welcomed by Somalia's international partners, who all released statements of concern following last week over the violent events which occurred in Mogadishu.

"The UN in Somalia applauds this step, which is in the interest of the citizens of Mogadishu and Somalia, and urges that all involved continue to engage in #dialogue to address other remaining issues in a spirit of compromise and goodwill."

Nicolas Berlanga, EU Ambassador to Somalia, praised the council and the candidates in a tweet for resolving their issues at the negotiating table.

"I praise the esprit of compromise and responsibility by PM Roble and the members of the Presidential Candidates. The agreement build hope for a peaceful, neutral and inclusive organization of elections in a short delay. Encouraging peace of news for Somali citizens and partners".

Both Puntland and Jubaland, who have each issued their own set of electoral ultimatums to the federal government, also voiced support for the resolutions reached in Mogadishu.


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