The United Nations Security Council on Saturday expressed “deep concern” over a spiraling feud between Somalia’s president and prime minister and called for both restraint and fresh talks.
The long-brewing dispute between the two leaders escalated this week when President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, popularly known as Farmajo, suspended the executive powers of Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, a move the premier rejected as unlawful.
The pair have clashed over high-profile appointments this month, and their spat threatens to imperil repeatedly delayed elections in the Horn of Africa nation and distract from efforts to confront a long-running insurgency.
The UN Security Council urged “all stakeholders to exercise restraint, and underlined the importance of maintaining peace, security and stability in Somalia.”
The statement comes a day after an emergency closed-door Council meeting called at Britain’s request.
“The members of the Security Council urged all parties to resolve their differences through dialogue for the good of Somalia and to prioritize the peaceful conduct of transparent, credible and inclusive elections,” the statement said.
Somalia has been struggling to hold elections for months.
Farmajo’s four-year mandate expired in February, but it was extended by parliament in April, triggering deadly gun battles in Mogadishu, with some rivals viewing it as a flagrant power grab.
Roble cobbled together a new timetable for elections, to be held on October 10, but the process has fallen behind.
Analysts say the impasse has distracted from Somalia’s larger problems, notably the Al-Shabaab insurgency that was unleashed in 2007.