Standoff between Somalia’s federal, state authorities could ‘paralyze’ progress – UN envoy

Ongoing tensions between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the country’s state authorities were center stage, as the United Nations top envoy for Somalia visited the country’s South West State on Wednesday.

Nicholas Haysom, UN Special Representative for Somalia and head of the Assistance Mission UNSOM, called for better collaboration: “What we’re facing is a quite serious political issue – the stand-off between the Federal Member States and the Federal Government may well paralyze our efforts to help Somalia get back on its feet.”

“We’re exploring ways of bringing them together in the hope that Somalis can face down their problems together rather than going separately,” said Haysom at a joint press conference, alongside Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, President of South West State, and Francisco Madeira, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission.

Haysom also flagged the need for “credible and acceptable” presidential elections next month and renewed his call for collaboration to solve the ongoing tensions.

“We’re asking all of the relevant role-players to get together to find a solution and to make the necessary compromises so that they can work collaboratively rather than against each other,” he said.

Haysom told reporters they also discussed development, security and political matters, assuring Somalis that “the international community does not have a candidate” and is not backing any specific candidate in the race.

The UN and AU officials also met with Abdulkadir Shariif Shekhuna, Speaker of South West State’s Parliament, who briefed them on preparations for the 17 November presidential poll, expected to be hotly contested.