International community urges dialogue to quell tension in Somalia

The international community has called for dialogue to resolve political tension in Somalia that arose from a dispute between the country’s Prime Minister and the House Speaker.

In a joint statement released on Friday night after security forces took over the country’s Parliament, the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union and foreign embassies called on Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari to give way for dialogue to end the dispute.

“The international community urges leaders in Parliament and the Executive to engage in respectful discussions in the coming days and to use constitutional and peaceful means to resolve political differences,” the partners said.

They urged all Somali leaders and politicians to respect the rule of law and the Provisional Federal Constitution in resolving political differences.

“This needs to include preservation of democratic space. Activities that increase tensions leading to possible violence should be avoided at all costs,” the international partners said.

The statement came after Jawari told journalists Friday evening that the House expected to continue sittings Saturday will have to decide on a new venue since the government has deployed forces to take control of Parliament.

“I welcome the motion against me but the proceedings will have to take place in a different place because government forces have occupied Parliament,” Jawari said.

“The Prime Minister will be responsible for anything that happens,” said Jawari who has been the Speaker since 2012.

A motion to remove Jawari from office failed Thursday to garner enough numbers to meet the 92 quorum threshold after 16 lawmakers withdrew their support in the last minute.

The international partners said they are “extremely concerned” by recent political and security developments in Mogadishu that risk derailing hard-earned political, economic, and security achievements and tarnishing the reputation of Somalia.

“The international community commends those groups and individuals who are mediating a peaceful resolution to political differences and stands behind their efforts,” they said.

Jawari who was re-elected in 2017 for the second term in office has blamed the prime minister for being behind a motion of no confidence against him and for ordering security forces to occupy Parliament and vowed to face the motion on the floor of the house if the legal requirements are met.