The United Nations and other countries that are in talks with Somalia’s prime minister and president have urged them to reduce tensions in their political feud that has fed fears of a military clash, officials said on Wednesday.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Monday suspended the Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble for suspected corruption; a move Roble said was a coup attempt and asked all security forces to take orders from his office.
The talks involved the global body’s partners in Somalia, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and others, said Ari Gaitanis, spokesperson for the U.N. Somalia office.
Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble had separately talked with Molly Phee, U.S. Assistant Secretary of state for African Affairs, on the political situation in Somalia.
Late on Wednesday, Phee’s office said on Twitter said she had also spoken with President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, urging him to support Roble to complete parliamentary elections quickly.
The elections began on November 1 and were supposed to have ended by December 24, but by Wednesday, only 30 of the 275 representatives have been elected, according to the election commission.
On Wednesday the group met separately with the president and a group of candidates who are aiming to run against him in the presidential election.
“Their goal at both meetings was to encourage Somalia’s leaders to put the country’s interests first and to focus on correcting electoral deficiencies,” Gaitanis said.
“The United Nations and international partners are in contact with all sides to urge de-escalation,” Gaitanis added.
Analysts see the feud as distracting the government from fighting an Islamist insurgency by the al Qaeda-allied al Shabaab group.
Al Shabaab aims to overthrow the government and impose a strict interpretation of Islamic law.