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Somalia: Pressure mounts on FGS to embrace dialogue with federal states, opposition

By Staff Reporter , GAROWE ONLINE
UN envoy James Swan [L] and Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has an obligation to embrace dialogue between his administration and disgruntled groups in Somalia, the United Nations said, despite escalating divisions witnessed in recent months.

A section of opposition and regional leaders have expressed dissatisfactions on how the government is run, citing the enactment of petroleum and electoral laws as some "serious" exclusion of stakeholders in bid to restore normalcy in Somalia.

James Swan, the UN special envoy to Somalia, on Thursday emphasized the need of dialogue among all stakeholders for the sake of steering social-economic and political arrangements within the federal government of Somalia.

The much needed negotiations, he noted, would bring about "improved cooperation" and extend "relations" between the federal government and member states in Somalia.

"While relations between the central Government and some Federal Member States remain cooperative, we regret that it has been more than a year since the President and all Federal Member State leaders have met," Swan said.

"Achievement of important national priorities urgently requires all to work together in the interests of the Somali people," he added during his regular briefing to the United Nations Security Council.

Federal states especially Jubaland and Puntland have come out guns blazing, accusing Farmajo of failing to steer the national agenda, arguing that he is keen to "distabilise" regional states to his advantage ahead of the much anticipated December polls.

The federal leadership, they have questioned before, is hell-bent to muzzle freedom of speech and that of media in Somalia to its advantage. But in a recent tweet on May 3, Farmajo committed himself towards "respecting" human rights and freedoms.

Despite the standoff between the two entities, Swan acknowledged tremendous development in terms of reconciliation efforts, noting the recent ceasefire among Jubaland, Galmadug and Southwest leaders, after a protracted electoral battle.

"Turning to developments in regard to the Federal Member States, we have been encouraged by recent progress on dialogue and reconciliation in several of them," added the envoy, whose statement corroborated that of Secretary General Antonio Guitteres on need for dialogue.

In Jubaland, Ahmed Madobe, the regional president, buried a hatchet with three of his competitors at Nairobi in April. At Galmadug, newly elected leader Ahmed Kariye Qoor Qoor reconciled with outgoing President Ahmed Duale before appointing a cabinet based on consensus.

A similar trend was witnessed in Southwest where elders selected a new parliament, he noted. In these and other Federal Member States, he added, "we urge continued efforts at dialogue and outreach to all communities to permit inclusive governance for the benefit of the people".

The UN also noted reconciliation efforts between secessionist Somaliland and the federal government, just over a month after Muse Bihi Abdi and Farmajo met in Addis Ababa following a meeting brokered by Ethiopian PM Ahmed Abiy.

Although the meeting did not yield immediate fruits, Farmajo has already apologized to Hargeisa over atrocities committed by the regime of dictator Siad Barre, in a message that elicited mixed reactions from both parties.

"In regard to Somalia-‘Somaliland’ relations, we are encouraged that dialogue is ongoing at senior levels and that both sides have indicated a willingness to maintain communication and pursue further discussions," he noted.

Somalia is expected hold first ever universal suffrage polls in December but the ending feuds and the visible Al-Shabaab threat have raised concerns among international partners in the war-torn nation.


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