Egypt’s FM urges expediting completion of Somali electoral arrangements ahead of planned polls
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Egypt hopes for a speedy agreement among the various Somali parties over electoral procedures, putting the country back on the path to reconstruction and stability.
Shoukry made the remarks as he met on Sunday with his Somali counterpart, Abdisaid Muse Ali, on the sidelines of the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly in Addis Ababa.
Last month, Somali leaders signed a deal to conclude the long-delayed presidential and parliamentary elections by 25 February.
Disputes between the country’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Premier Mohamed Hussein Roble over how the elections would be held has delayed the polls for more than a year.
Observers have worried that the delay will endanger the stability of troubled country.
The UN has been calling the completion of Somali elections as more important than ever at a time when the country is battling ISIS-linked Al-Shabaab terrorist group.
The group, which is responsible for killing thousands of civilians in East Africa and launching attacks against the AU’s African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), have threatened to disrupt elections.
During their Sunday meeting, Shoukry affirmed Egypt’s support for its sisterly country’s stability.
The top Egyptian diplomat highlighted the need to ensure that post-2021 arrangements of the AMISOM are based on a comprehensive approach that includes building state institutions, reconstruction and economic development, and is not limited to security and military dimensions only.
He also referred to how Egypt hosted a retreat in Cairo on the Post-2021 Arrangements in Somalia that were organised by the International Centre for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping, and Peacebuilding in cooperation with the AU, Federal government of Somalia, the UN, and several international partners.
The ministry added that the retreat contributed to the convergence of views between the various parties for the upcoming rounds of consultations.
In January, the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA) organised a retreat on post-2021 arrangements in Somalia with the participation of Somalia, the African Union, the United Nations, and several international partners.
The retreat aimed to provide a space for informal consultations between Somali officials and African and international partners in order to discuss post-2021 arrangements in Somalia, given the end of the AMISOM mandate in March 2022, according to a CCCPA’s statement.
In a tweet, Ali hailed his discussions with Shoukry as “fruitful,” saying they discussed issues of mutual interest including trade, education, maritime security, regional dynamics and violent extremism.