UN urges Somali leaders to quickly agree on elections

FILE:A meeting of the UN Security Council on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters. (Photo by Valery SharifulinTASS via Getty Images)

The U.N. Security Council has called on Somalia’s federal government and regional states to urgently resume talks and agree on arrangements to hold elections as soon as possible.

Britain called for a closed-door meeting a day after Somalia’s central government and federal states missed a deadline on how to proceed with a vote on choosing the next president.

A September agreement allows for the Somali president and others to stay in office after Monday’s election date if needed, but United Nations special representative James Swan has warned that going beyond that day brings “an unpredictable political situation in a country where we certainly don’t need any more of that.”

In a statement, the members of the Security Council called for Somalia’s leaders to resume their dialogue urgently and “work together, in the interests of the people of Somalia, to reach consensus on the arrangements for the conduct of inclusive elections with a view to holding them as soon as possible”.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who is seeking a second four-year term, blamed unnamed “foreign interventions” Saturday for the failure of the talks and accused Puntland and Jubbaland states of refusing to support the September agreement.

Due to the impasse, the opposition said it no longer recognized the authority of President Mohamed, compounding trouble in a nation facing a violent Islamist insurgency, a locust invasion and serious food shortages.

The Security Council will meet again on February 22 to renew the mandate of the African Union mission in Somalia.

Story compiled with assistance from wire reports