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Dream big things, US tells Somalis as dialogue between FGS and FMS flops

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The future of Somalia is at stake should the federal government and member states fail to shape the Horn of Africa nation, the US has said, while noting the current impasse that has seen the two sides struggle to reconcile.

In a statement issued by the US ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto, Washington encouraged leaders to be tolerant of each other and focus on the fight against terrorism, which has grounded many activities in Somalia.

The leadership, Yamamoto added, should focus on creating jobs, educating children, and helping those in distress. This, he noted, would help future generations in Somalia after decades of inter-clan conflicts and Al-Shabaab menace.

"For Somalia, as well, your future is at stake, encouraging your leaders from the Federal government to federal states and communities to work together to create jobs, educate children, help people in distress, and fight terrorism to realize a better tomorrow," he noted.

"The US wants Somalis, all people to dream big things, to make the impossible possible and have our children and all future generations blessed with hope," added the envoy, who at one time served as acting deputy representative for African affairs.

Somalia's future is uncertain following disagreements about the next elections, which are supposed to be held by December. Last week, the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] ruled out a possibility of holding elections in time, citing inadequate preparations.

The country, NIEC said, would be only ready to hold manual one-person-one-vote elections in March 2021, over three months after the expiry of the term of the current leadership. For biometric elections, it added, the country can really hold them in August, the same year.

But the statement has charged the opposition, which now accuses the commission of working closely with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo's administration and international partners to have the term extended.

From Sunday [today], federal states' leadership was expected to hold dialogue with the federal government in Mogadishu but flopped after a boycott. However, Puntland withdraws from the talks, accusing the regime of approving certain legislations despite the two sides have agreed to halt the Lower House debates.

Ambassador Yamamoto, who was celebrating the US independence day, also acknowledged the disaster caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, which has continued to wreak havoc across the world.

"Today, we are at the altar of another great struggle – a terrible Pandemic, injustice, a destiny undefined," he said. "That clarion call summons a new generation from every corner of this world, divided by differences but united in the clarity of common purpose to make the impossible possible."

The war-torn nation is under pressure to have leaders speaking from the same script, a move which will avert possible fallout which could plunge the country into another civil war. For three decades, Somalia has struggled to form a functional government.

One of the most controversial issues is the model for elections. While the current administration and international partners believe a universal suffrage model is appropriate for elections, federal states and the opposition insist that the timeline is too small to allow credible one-person-one-vote elections.

However, the federal states and the opposition want whichever model to be used as long as elections are held within the confines of the constitution, a move which they insist would prevent possible term extensions for the current administration.


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