Leaders of Somali Federal Government and the regional states have gathered in Garowe, the capital of Puntland on Friday to convene for a national reconciliation conference hosted by the Puntland leader, Said Abdullahi Deni.
The conference is expected to kick off on Saturday and will take for two days, according to the schedule released by Puntland Presidency.
Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire has arrived Garowe on a chartered flight from Mogadishu later on Friday as leaders from South West, Hirshabelle and Jubbaland landed earlier while the embattled president of Galmudug Ahmed Duale is expected to join today.
Sources say, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo who was invited to the conference will attend on the last day before the end.
The Garowe conference was called for by Puntland Government last week in a bid to resolve the ongoing impasse between the federal member states and the central government in Mogadishu following the states’ announcement of cutting relations with Mogadishu in September.
In a statement on Friday, Puntland’s Deni said he had high hopes on the conference that it will bring consensus to the political differences.
“I anticipate that this consultation conference will focus on issues of the interest of the Somali people and the country,” the statement released after PM Khaire’s arrival said.
But still the rift between the two sides seemed to be growing bigger even hours before the leaders begun to arrive in Garowe.
The leaders of Puntland, Galmudug and Jubbaland issued a statement condemning and opposing a new draft bill on elections and political parties proposed by the cabinet ministers of the Federal Government of Somalia.
The bill which still needs to go for a parliamentary approval states that if elections delay for any motives, the incumbent government in Mogadishu will continue as a caretaker government, which according to the regional states, clear stipulates an attempt on term extension by Farmajo’s administration.
In March, the leaders of the central government and the regional states failed to convene in Mogadishu in a meeting proposed by President Farmajo making the second time such a meeting did not succeed.