Int’l partners urge Somalis to embrace dialogue ahead of 2020 polls

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International partners on Tuesday called on Somalis to embrace dialogue to agree on a way forward and to cooperate to realize the priorities agreed for the year ahead.

The partners including the Africa Union, UN, EU and the U.S. among others said the leaders including institutions and communities should work together provide a conducive environment for universal polls, finalize the constitution and fight al-Shabab in 2020.

“Somalia’s objectives are achievable with the strong collaboration of all stakeholders and 2020 has the potential to be a historic year for Somali,” the partners said in a joint statement issued after holding consultations in the town of Kismayo.

The partners who visited Jubaland, southern Somalia, in the third of a series of consultative meetings in Federal Member States said they reflected on the progress made this year and looking ahead to 2020 as a critical year for Somalia.

“We are here to engage with a range of stakeholders and to hear their views on how key national priorities can be achieved in 2020,” they said.

The priorities, they said, include preparations for “one-person, one-vote” elections, finalization of the Federal Constitution, continued progress towards debt relief, and the fight against al-Shabab.

Somalia, with the help of AMISOM and the UN, is making urgent preparations for universal suffrage elections, which will be the first of its kind after more than two decades since the outbreak of the civil war that followed the collapse of the Somali government in 1992.

According to the UN, Somalia last held one-person, one-vote elections in March 1969 when the government was overthrown in a bloodless military coup.

Parliamentary and presidential elections took place in late 2016 and early 2017 through a system of indirect suffrage.

The partners said the political situation in Jubaland remains unsettled but noted that Jubaland and its people will have their role to play in the work to achieve Somalia’s goals in 2020, adding that they did not wish their views to be overlooked.

The partners said the visit afforded them the opportunity to understand directly from the stakeholders in Jubaland the issues that continue to divide them and what solutions may be possible through dialogue, pragmatism and compromise, and prioritization of the national interest.

“Without a peaceful resolution, the Jubaland situation poses risks for achievement of critical national priorities. We are grateful to the representatives we met for sharing their ideas,” they said.

Sources: Xinhua
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