Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo speaks after winning the vote in Mogadishu, Somalia, Feb. 8, 2017. Former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was elected new president of Somalia in a tightly contested polls held in Mogadishu on Wednesday. (Xinhua/Pan Siwei)

The East African bloc has called on Somali leaders to resume dialogue to resolve the ongoing political stalemate on the delayed elections.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) also backed the African Union (AU) initiative which was proposed by President Mohamed Farmajo who on Monday urged the AU to take a leading role in facilitating an election process in which every citizen elects their representatives through free and fair elections.

“IGAD reiterates that dialogue remains the best option for national cohesion, inclusive politics, peacebuilding, reconciliation, human security and stability,” the regional bloc said in a statement on Wednesday.

It said dialogue is an important process that provides space for confidence and trust-building, and is an essential prerequisite for a comprehensive settlement of all outstanding issues.

The bloc called on Somali leaders to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from any actions that will further escalate tensions or lead to confrontation and thus urged the stakeholders to prioritize dialogue in their political aspirations.

“IGAD values the importance of multilateral engagements in enhancing political cohesion and reconciliation; and to this end, stands ready to avail its good offices to support the proposed African Union initiative,” it said.

The political crisis in Somalia was sparked on April 12 when the Somali Lower House of Parliament voted to extend the terms of the executive and the legislative arms of government.

President Farmajo whose four-year term officially ended on Feb. 8 has been unable for months to reach a truce on how to carry out the election, with the regional states objecting on some electoral issues.

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