US criticizes Somali legislators' extension vote

February 5, 2011 03:29
1 minute read.

NAIROBI, Kenya — The United States on Friday sharply criticized a vote by Somali parliamentarians to extend their term by three years, and called the unilateral decision a disservice to the Somali people and a setback to the establishment of a legitimate and effective government.

The 500-member parliament voted on the extension Thursday despite failing to pass any laws the in last six years. When asked for an example of the legislative body's accomplishments, one parliamentarian told The Associated Press that the politicians had refurbished the parliament building.

The job-extending vote drew a scathing response Friday from the US, which said the extension could even strengthen Somalia's most dangerous militant force, al-Shabab, an insurgent group that actively recruits Somali-Americans and masterminded the twin bombings in Uganda during the World Cup final last July.

"This unilateral and unrepresentative extension ... serves only to further undermine the credibility of the Parliament and risks strengthening al-Shabab," the US statement said. "This self-serving political maneuvering calls into question the suitability of the senior leadership of the Parliament as viable partners for the Somali people and the international community as we collectively work to bring peace, stability, and progress back to Somalia."

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