Security Council says bickering Somali leaders risk losing international support

NAIROBI, Kenya – The U.N. Security Council is warning Somali leaders that they risk losing financial support if they can’t agree on how to carry out upcoming elections.

Somalia’s government depends on international support for almost everything, including the salaries of soldiers and lawmakers. Around 9,000 African Union troops are stationed in Mogadishu to prevent the government from being overrun by militants.

The British ambassador to the United Nations, Mark Lyall Grant, told a news conference in neighboring Kenya on Wednesday that the European Union could pull funding for lawmakers.

“Strong messages, as I said, were given and we made it clear that the international community’s support could not be assured whilst bickering and the infighting continued,” Grant said.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice wrote on her Twitter account: “In Nairobi today, UNSC blasted bickering Somali President & Speaker: get your act together, resolve your differences or lose intl support.” UNSC is the U.N. Security Council.

President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed and Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheik Aden have been locked in a dispute over what to do when the government’s term expires in August.

Aden told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the parliament will go ahead with a vote to elect a president despite Ahmed’s objections. Ahmed wants a one-year extension for his government, a position the U.N. and Washington don’t support.

“The president and the speaker of the parliament must be aware that there will be consequences if they are unable to reach a very rapid agreement,” Grant said. He added that the European Union’s fund to pay lawmakers could be “spent elsewhere if it’s not been properly used in Mogadishu.”

The U.N. envoy for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, is expected to organize a meeting of Somali stake holders next month, Grant said.

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