UN holds emergency session on Somalia's political crisis

United Nations: The U.N. Security Council held emergency consultations Friday on Somalia's worsening political crisis, which could threaten long-delayed national elections and further destabilise the east Africa region.

Britain's U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward, who called for the closed briefing by U.N. special envoy James Swan, expressed serious concern about the rising tensions between the prime minister and the president.

The meeting followed President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's statement Thursday saying he suspended Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble's power to hire and fire officials, the latest action in their increasingly divisive relationship.

Woodward said the increasing tensions have implications for the electoral process and could lead to a constitutional crisis on top of the country's other challenges from Al-Shabab extremists to famine, locusts and hunger.

Three decades of chaos, from warlords to al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabab and the emergence of an Islamic State-linked

group, have ripped apart the country that only in the past few years has begun to find its footing.

Woodward said the Security Council should keep up pressure to put the electoral process back on track and to see the prime minister and the president resolve their differences quickly ... to ensure the security, peace and stability Somalia needs.

Council members were considering a draft press statement, obtained by The Associated Press, that would express deep concern about the ongoing disagreement within the Somali government and the negative impact on the electoral timetable and process.

It would urge all parties to resolve their differences through dialogue and prioritize the holding of elections in accordance with a May 27 agreement stipulating that indirect elections be held this year.

The draft statement would also urge the federal government and regional states to ensure that any political differences do not divert from united action against al-Shabab.

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