Jubbaland, Puntland fail to bar Farmaajo from chairing new electoral talks

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MOGADISHU (HOL) –  Demands by Jubbaland and Puntland to bar President Mohamed Farmaajo -whose term lapsed in February – from chairing the upcoming electoral talks flopped Sunday following pressure from the international community.

The two states which are bitterly opposed to Farmaajo had, among a raft of demands, sought to stop the outgoing president from chairing the talks in addition to not convening new talks.

A source close to the talks among Federal Member State leaders told HOL the international community pressured the two leaders to withdraw their demands and allow Farmaajo to chair the negotiations.

Among those in attendance was UN Special Representative to Somalia James Swan and US Ambassador to Somalia Yamamoto.

The two allied states had also demanded the inclusion of two members of the National Salvation Forum (NSF) in the new talks set to take place at the airforce hangar within the airport area.

However, it appears that those demands were rebuffed. As a compromise, Puntland and Jubaland will raise concerns on behalf of the NSF at the meetings.

Ahmed Madobe (Jubbaland) and his Puntland counterpart Abdullahi Deni were compelled to attend the talks in their capacity as Federal Member State leaders and not members of the new opposition alliance, NSF.

On the Farmaajo side, the meeting resolved that the Lower House postpone its sessions until the new electoral talks are concluded.

House speakers reportedly bowed to international pressure Sunday evening to cancel today’s session. Sources said the session was aimed to pass a motion to extend Farmaajo’s stay in office.

The FMS leaders will meet again today.