The U.N. Security Council urged Somalia’s feuding government leaders on Saturday to resolve their disagreements through dialogue and give top priority to holding long-delayed national elections this year.
The U.N.’s most powerful body also urged the federal government and regional states “to ensure that any political differences do not divert from united action against al-Shabab and other militant groups.”
The press statement approved by all 15 council members followed emergency consultations Friday on Somalia’s worsening political crisis, which has raised regional and international concerns that elections could be threatened and the east Africa region could face further destabilization.
On Thursday, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed suspended Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble’s power to hire and fire officials, the latest action in their increasingly divisive relationship.
In the statement, council members expressed “deep concern about the ongoing disagreement within the Somali government and the negative impact on the electoral timetable and process.”
They urged all parties “to exercise restraint, and underlined the importance of maintaining peace, security and stability in Somalia.”
Three decades of chaos, from warlords to al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabab and the emergence of an Islamic State-linked group, have ripped apart the country that only in the past few years has begun trying to rebuild and find its footing.
The pressure on President Mohamed to hold elections has intensified since scheduled elections on Feb. 8 failed to take place because of the lack of agreement on how the vote should be carried out.