US restricts visa to Farmajo for ‘undermining Somalia’s democracy

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the move in a statement, saying it will be applied to those "who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Somalia."

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US restricts visa to Farmajo for ‘undermining Somalia’s democracy

WASHINGTON - The Biden administration on Tuesday restricted the issuance of visas to former and current Somali government officials in an effort to put pressure on the Horn of Africa nation's leadership to resolve issues that are holding up elections.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the move in a statement, saying it will be applied to those "who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Somalia."

Violence against protesters, the unjust arrest of journalists and opposition members, and manipulation of the electoral process are examples of some of the efforts employed that have held up the election process, Blinken said, adding the officials' family members may also be impacted by the ban.

The announcement was made on the one-year anniversary of the expiration of Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's term in office.

The election process has been held up over issues between Farmaajo and his prime minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble.

In April, Farmaajo moved to extend his term two years, which he later rescinded amid political opposition.

The United States has repeatedly called on Somalia's leaders to resolve their issues in order to quickly complete the protracted elections, stating the delay not only creates uncertainty but threatens security, stability, and development in the politically fragile country.

"Somalia's national and federal member state leaders must follow through on their commitments to complete the parliamentary process in a credible and transparent manner by Feb. 25, which will further lay the groundwork for responsive governance in Somalia," Blinken said. "The United States strongly supports the Somali people, and we are committed to working together to advance democracy and mutual prosperity for both of our countries."

Source: UPI

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