US urges Somali leaders to cease escalatory rhetoric

Somalia is in political gridlock for second time in a year over election.

US urges Somali leaders to cease escalatory rhetoric

The US on Wednesday urged Somalia's president and prime minister to take steps to reduce tensions as a bitter feud between the two leaders continued.

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee called on Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble to convene the country's National Consultative Conference (NCC) and complete credible elections.

“I spoke yesterday with Somalia’s PM @MohamedHRoble to underscore our support for his efforts to hold an NCC meeting to correct election irregularities and swiftly conclude credible elections. All parties should stop escalatory actions and security forces should remain neutral,” Phee said in a statement issued by the Bureau of African Affairs on its Twitter account.

The current gridlock emerged after President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed issued a decree suspending the powers of the prime minister over alleged corruption and misuse of public land, but Roble rejected the move, calling it a "coup attempt."

Roble claimed he is the only person in the country who is legally responsible for all government institutions and called on military commanders to obey him, and the power struggle between the two men is showing no signs of ending soon.

The president is under relentless pressure from the international community and opposition presidential candidates who on Tuesday demanded that he leave office as "soon as possible" and accused him of staging a "tremendous" coup attempt.

Somali presidential spokesman Abdirashid Mohamed Hashi, who spoke to Anadolu Agency over the phone, denied the accusations, saying the only coup the president can be accused of is a coup against graft, and “that has set him apart from his competitors.”

The presidency accused the prime minister of defying the president’s orders.

"He failed to hold elections and caused delays for months, disrupted the elections implementation team and irregularly reorganized the dispute committee, derailing the election process,” Hashi said.