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UN praises Farmajo's meeting with FMS leaders in central Somalia

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online
UN envoy to Somalia James Swan

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The United Nations [UN] has welcomed the ongoing preliminary meetings between President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and federal states leadership in Dhusamareb, the regional administrative capital of Galmadug state, terming it "important" for the people of Somalia and their "future".

Farmajo, who had been subjected to pressure from a host of opposition leaders and federal member states' leadership, showed up in Dhusamareb on Saturday, almost a week after the regional leaders had convened to discuss the current impasse over the model and date for upcoming elections.

The federal states' leadership include Said Abdullahi Deni [Puntland], Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe [Jubaland], Abdi Waare [HirShabelle], Lafta-Gareen [Southwest] and Ahmed Kariye alias Qoor Qoor of Galmadug, who was elected in February this year.

In a tweet on Monday, the United Nations Mission in Somalia welcomed the meeting, adding that the federal government and member states should exercise caution and thing of "compromise" for the meeting to achieve the intended purpose.

“The United Nations in Somalia is very pleased to witness President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and all FMS leaders meeting in Dhusamareb for important discussions on national priorities, especially elections. In these talks, we urge a spirit of constructive compromise," read the tweet.

The two parties are under pressure to reach a compromise on the model and date for elections, after the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] settled on the universal suffrage model, adding that the earliest the elections can be done is 2021 March, a move supported by FGS.

However, the federal states have ruled out the one-person-one-vote model, insisting that it will precipitate unnecessary term extensions. However, the UN and other international entities are backing this model, arguing that it's more democratic, a sharp shift from the traditional 4.5 model.

On Monday, Farmajo held a preliminary meeting with FMS leaders which was also attended by Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire. In his recent meetings, Khaire has often insisted that the country cannot afford to delay elections, and he's said to be reading from a different script, something which could plunge the country into an unprecedented electoral crisis.

Through Abdinur Mohamed, the Director of Communications in the presidency, Villa Somalia termed the Monday's meeting a "success", arguing that the leadership outlined their shared vision for Somalia. However, he did not delve into finer details on what was agreed during the meeting.

"Great to report that the first day of the Dhusamareb Consultative Conference has been incredibly filled with great wisdom and vision for Somalia. H.E President Farmaajo and FMS leadership have underlined that their shared vision is to deliver the desired dreams for our nation," he said.

However, sources privy to the details regarding the meeting said the six leaders discussed the agenda of the conference, protocols, and procedures. The team will come up with the date for the second conference which would be held in Galmadug again and is likely to be convened in the coming weeks.

Early this month Villa Somalia came up with agendas among them security in the country, development, Al-Shabaab menace, and the upcoming elections. The electoral issue has, however, been one of the thorny matters in Somalia, and has been subjected to debate in recent weeks.

The UN is keen to have a stable Somalia ahead of the planned exit of AMISOM troops, who have been keeping peace in the country since 2008. Under the Somali Transition Plan, the AMISOM troops will hand over security responsibilities to Somali National Army [SNA].

Farmajo's term is set to expire in November this year and this has informed the resistance from federal states who are keen to have early elections. Also, the two parties are set to discuss the resource sharing revenue between FMS and FGS.