Somalia condemns ‘threats’ from foreign allies

MOGADISHU (AFP) – Somalia has accused some of its foreign backers of undermining its sovereignty after the embattled government was threatened with sanctions over a decision to extend its mandate by two years.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Wednesday signed into law a “special resolution” extending his time in office, despite his term expiring in February, and repeat warnings that such a move would not be supported by western powers.

It followed a total collapse in United Nations (UN)-backed talks between the central government in Mogadishu and two of Somalia’s semi-autonomous states over how to proceed with delayed elections in the fragile nation.

Key foreign allies and financial supporters have rebuked the decision in strong terms.

They said the mandate extension threatens peace and stability in Somalia and distracts from its fight against the Al-Shabaab extremist group.

The United States (US), a key partner in the war on terror, and the European Union (EU) has warned of sanctions and other penalties should talks toward elections between the feuding parties not urgently resume.

“While we appreciate the concerns of our friends and international partners for Somalia’s stability and security, it is regrettable to witness champions of democratic principles falling short of supporting the aspirations of the Somali people to exercise their democratic rights,” Somalia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued late Wednesday.

“Inflammatory statements laden with threats, which undermine the political independence and sovereign rights of national institutions, will only serve to embolden terrorist organisations and anti-peace elements in Somalia.”

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. PHOTO: AP