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The leaders of Somalia’s Federal Member States have agreed to hold a face-to-face meeting in Dhusamareb, the regional administrative capital of Galmadug, just hours after it failed to kick-off as agreed.

Garowe Online can now exclusively reveal that the meeting will be held from July 8 and is expected to take days. Galmadug state is now trying to solve internal political squabbles recently after Ahmed Kariye alias Qoor-Qoor took over the office in February this year.

This comes after Villa Somalia failed again to convene July 5-8 the National Security Council meeting called by Farmajo last month following a virtual conference that had been held between President Farmajo and Federal States’ leaders.

However, the meeting could not take off on Sunday as planned, a move that coincided with anti-government protests in Mogadishu, forcing police officers to use live bullets to disperse angry demonstrators. Dozens of people including a former District Commissioner were arrested, reports indicate.

Sources revealed to Garowe Online that Somali leaders are currently facing mounting pressure from international partners to find the last solution to the deepened standoff over the country’s elections, finalization of the constitution, and share of the natural resources.

Puntland and Jubaland which are part of the five Federal States in Somalia have boycotted the Mogadishu talks, accusing the Federal Government of Somalia of dishonesty, saying Mogadishu-based FGS was hell-bent to frustrate upcoming elections primarily to push for a term extension.

Both Federal States say they took the decision to turn down Farmajo’s invitation, citing approval of controversial electoral laws by Lower House as the hindering factor. But it’s not clear if the federal government would now honor the latest date for negotiations, which was set by regional leaders.

In an earlier post on Sunday, Abdinur Mohamed, the Villa Somalia communication director, had indicated that the date would be issued at the “appropriate” time, a move that triggered criticism from hundreds of social media users. The decision to delay the meeting may have informed federal states’ leaders to forge a way forward.

“The new date for the FGS-FMS National Security Council [NSC] meeting shall be communicated at the appropriate time,” he said. “The objective is in line with the strong desire of the Somali people for the meeting to take place with progressive results propelling the national agenda at hand.”

The presidential palace had earmarked security, development, elections and persistent Al-Shabaab attacks as some of the major issues do discussion. However, elections in Somalia have been the epicenter of looming political fallout between FGS and stakeholders.

A fortnight ago, the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] ruled out timely elections in Somalia, citing inadequate preparations as the main detracting factor. Elections, it said, would be held earliest in March 2021, a move that would lead to automatic term extension.

But stakeholders among them the opposition and federal states opposed the move, accusing Villa Somalia of working with other external entities to deny Somalis rights to choose new leaders. The term for the current administration expires in October this year.

In yet another indication of looming political fallout, a manifesto was issued on Friday by 70 senior citizens who demanded that President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo hold elections as stipulated in the constitution. This was the second manifesto to be issued in the history of Somalia.

Dhusamareb meeting is expected to solve the impasse and probably combat a possible political conflict in Somalia, which soil gains made in rebuilding the Horn of Africa nation. Villa Somalia is, however, yet to confirm attendance, so is the Mogadishu Mayor Omar Filish, who had been invited for talks in the abortive Sunday meeting.

Besides the date for elections, the team would also agree on the number of representatives for Somaliland and Banadir regions in the national assembly. The team would also discuss the 30 percent quota for women representation in Parliament, another factor which the international community is keen to have solved.