New York [US], February 22 (ANI): India on Monday has called for leaders of Somalia to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve the issues that are delaying the holding of elections.
Speaking at the United Nations Security Council meeting on Somalia, Ambassador TS Tirumurti Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, said that India is aware of the efforts that the Council has put in over the years for securing lasting peace and stability in Somalia.
During the last decade, thanks to the security provided by AMISOM and the critical roles played by the AU and the UNSOM, Tirumurti said that Somalia has made steady progress towards national reconciliation and state-building, despite several shortcomings and setbacks.
"The political impasse over the holding of elections is indeed disappointing. It has been more than 5 months since the signing of the agreement on September 17 last year. Contrary to our expectations, the meeting between the leaders of the Federal Member States and the Federal Government of Somalia planned at first for 15 February and then 18-19 February did not take place," the Indian envoy said.
He added, "It is important that Somali leaders engage in constructive dialogue to resolve the issues that are delaying the holding of elections."Tirumurti said that India welcomes the February 16 announcement that the Technical Committee representing the Federal Government and the Federal Member States identified solutions to outstanding electoral issues and that these have been submitted to the National Consultative Council.
"We now expect an early decision of the leaders towards holding of elections soon. We also urge all Somalis not to resort to violence during this important transition and to encourage dialogue and reconciliation instead," he added.
"There is little doubt that the longer it takes to hold elections, the more complicated the situation will become. The delay will only embolden Al-shabaab and other armed groups to gain more ground and continue their terror acts, subverting the democratic gains made so far," Tirumurti said further.
The frequency of terror attacks perpetrated by Al-shabaab over the last few months, the Indian envoy said is a matter of serious concern. Last week's suicide bombing in Mogadishu reflects the "fragile security situation" in the country.
"We strongly condemn these terror attacks. We are also concerned at the increased use of IEDs by Al-Shabaab and call for extending support to Somali Security Forces in building their capacity to tackle this menace," he said.
The envoy pointed out that the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) has been playing a key role in containing Al-Shabaab in Somalia for several years. AMISOM remains the "rallying point" of the international community's efforts for stabilization of the security situation in the country.
The envoy said that Somali security forces and institutions need continued support to tackle Al Shabaab and other armed groups and added that a hasty withdrawal will nullify the progress achieved so far.
"We also believe that the extension of the AMISOM mandate should not be limited by the current constraints of funding. The views of the AU (African Union) and the countries in the region form critical inputs for the Council's action on AMISOM mandate renewal... We believe that a technical rollover of AMISOM mandate would allow all stakeholders to look into the reconfiguration of AMISOM in a comprehensive manner at a later date," Tirumurti added.
According to Sputnik, earlier on Friday, clashes between Somalia's opposition and government forces were reported at Daljirka Dahson Square in the capital Mogadishu. Former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud accused the government of attacking a hotel where he and his predecessor, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, were staying.
Somali security forces also opened fire to disperse the opposition's demonstration led by former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and the leader of the Wadajir party, Abdirahman Abdishakur.
The situation in Somalia has escalated after the country passed an agreed-upon election deadline, February 8. On Thursday, the Somalian government banned public gatherings, citing a spike in coronavirus cases. (ANI)