By Mohammed Dhaysane
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) - The US on Wednesday threatened Somalia with sanctions if it fails to meet a recently agreed timetable for holding elections.
"Somalia’s elections are more than a year behind schedule. The US is prepared to take measures against spoilers if the new National Consultative Council timeline is not met,” the United States Bureau of African Affairs said on Twitter.
Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble welcomed the warning by the US.
His spokesman, Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, spoke to Anadolu Agency by phone, saying the prime minister is ready to fulfill his duties and lead the country to peaceful elections.
"We welcome the statement and agree that someone must be held accountable if they violate the election timetable that was produced by the Somali National Consultative Council meeting under the leadership of the Somali prime minister,” he said.
The US warning comes days after Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed announced that he welcomed the outcome of the six-day meeting of the National Consultative Council at which its leaders agreed to conclude ongoing Lower House elections by Feb. 25, but he has yet to comment on the latest warning.
Experts, however, described the move as a symbolic one, given the challenges and how difficult Somalia's politics have become.
Somalia has entered a political crisis in less than year as gridlock developed after the country's electoral body ousted its chairman and President Mohamed announced that he had suspended the powers of his prime minister over the alleged embezzlement of public land and corruption.