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International community expresses grave concern over HirShabelle disqualified candidate

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The United Nations, African Union, European Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, Ethiopia, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States are gravely concerned about the holding of a vote in the HirShabelle interim capital of Jowhar yesterday for a seat in the House of the People that was won by a disqualified candidate.

The Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT) recently disqualified Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, the outgoing federal Minister of Youth and Sports, and another contender for the seat, Ahmed Sheikh Nur, for their role in the violence that occurred inside and outside the polling center in Jowhar last month in which a number of people, including electoral college delegates, were injured.  

The holding of yesterday’s election in Jowhar was in disregard of a 7 December letter sent by the FIEIT to the HirShabelle State-Level Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (SIEIT) and the state’s President Ali Abdullahi Osoble which explicitly banned Mr. Hassan and Mr. Nur from contesting the House of the People seat, which had been allocated to the Jidle clan.

Yesterday’s vote flouts the rules established for Somalia’s 2016 electoral process by the National Leadership Forum, which invested the FIEIT with the authority to disqualify parliamentary candidates found to have violated the code of conduct or engaged in abuses and malpractices. The international community will therefore insist that the decision of the FIEIT regarding the seat allocated to the Jidle clan still stands.

Mr. Keating also welcomed the communiqué issued by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development at the 9 December extraordinary summit of heads of state and government in Addis Ababa that commended the overall progress achieved to date in the electoral process and underscored the importance of enabling the Independent Electoral Dispute Resolution Mechanism (IEDRM) to carry out its investigations of alleged electoral abuse and malpractices and ensuring acceptance and implementation of its rulings. The international community expects the IEDRM to conclude its investigations in a timely manner and to take appropriate action, including nullifying the results of the seats affected by the most egregious irregularities.

“The vote in Jowhar is deeply troubling,” said SRSG Keating. “If this outcome is allowed to stand and other egregious cases of electoral process abuse are unchallenged, then the credibility and legitimacy of the entire electoral process will be imperiled. Any spoilers who are found by the electoral implementation bodies to have violated the rules of the process must be held accountable for their actions.”

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Diplomatic leaks: UAE dissatisfied with Saudi policies

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AL JAZEERA — Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) is working on breaking up Saudi Arabia, leaked documents obtained by Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar revealed.

Al Akhbar said that the leaked documents contained secret diplomatic briefings sent by UAE and Jordanian ambassadors in Beirut to their respective governments.

One of the documents, issued on September 20, 2017, disclosed the outcome of a meeting between Jordan’s ambassador to Lebanon Nabil Masarwa and his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdel-Al al-Qenaie.

“The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed is working on breaking up the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the Jordanian envoy quoted the Kuwait ambassador as saying.

A second document, issued on September 28, 2017, reveals meeting minutes between the Jordanian ambassador and his UAE counterpart Hamad bin Saeed al-Shamsi.

The document said the Jordanian ambassador informed his government that UAE believes that “Saudi policies are failing both domestically and abroad, especially in Lebanon”.

“The UAE is dissatisfied with Saudi policies,” the Jordanian envoy said.

The Qatar vote
According to the leaks, UAE ambassador claims that Lebanon voted for Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari in his bid to become head of UNESCO in October 2017.

“[Lebanese Prime Minister Saad] Hariri knew Lebanon was voting for Qatar,” the UAE ambassador said in a cable sent to his government on October 18, 2017.

In November last year, Hariri announced his shock resignation from the Saudi capital Riyadh.

He later deferred his decision, blaming Iran and its Lebanese ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah, for his initial resignation. He also said he feared an assassination attempt.

Officials in Lebanon alleged that Hariri was held hostage by Saudi authorities, an allegation Hariri denied in his first public statement following his resignation speech.

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Somalia’s Puntland region asks UAE to stay as Gulf split deepens

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BOSASO, Somalia (Reuters) – Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region urged the United Arab Emirates not to close its security operations in the country after a dispute with the central government, saying the Gulf power was a key ally in the fight against Islamist militants.

The dispute goes to the heart of an increasingly troubled relationship between Gulf states – divided by their own disputes – and fractured Somalia, whose coastline sits close to key shipping routes and across the water from Yemen.

Analysts have said the complex standoff risks exacerbating an already explosive security situation on both sides of the Gulf of Aden, where militant groups launch regular attacks.

The central Somali government said on Wednesday it was taking over a military training program run by the UAE.

Days later the UAE announced it was pulling out, accusing Mogadishu of seizing millions of dollars from a plane, money it said was meant to pay soldiers.

“We ask our UAE friends, not only to stay, but to redouble their efforts in helping Somalia stand on its feet,” said the office of the president of Puntland, a territory that sits on the tip of the Horn of Africa looking out over the Gulf of Aden.

Ending UAE support, “will only help our enemy, particularly Al Shabaab and ISIS (Islamic State),” it added late on Monday.

SUSPICION, RESENTMENT

The UAE is one of a number of Gulf powers that have opened bases along the coast of the Horn of Africa and promised investment and donations as they compete for influence in the insecure but strategically important region.

That competition has been exacerbated by a diplomatic rift between Qatar and a bloc including the UAE. In turn, those splits have worsened divisions in Somalia.

Puntland, which has said it wants independence, has sought to woo the UAE which runs an anti-piracy training center there and is developing the main port. The central government in Mogadishu last year criticized Puntland for taking sides in the Gulf dispute. Qatar’s ally Turkey is one of Somalia’s biggest investors.

One Somali government official said last week Mogadishu had decided to take over the UAE operation because the Gulf state’s contract to run it had expired. Another official said the government was investigating the money taken from the plane.

The competition among Gulf states in Somalia has fueled accusations of foreign interference and resentment in many corners of Somali society.

The loss of the UAE program could have a destabilizing effect, said one security analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The value of the UAE trained forces was two-fold – they were relatively well trained but, most importantly, they were paid on time,” unlike other parts of the security forces, the analyst told Reuters.

Somalia has been mired in conflict since 1991.

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Puntland President calls UAE continue its mission in Somalia

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