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Somalia parliament speaker drops impeachment motion against president

(Reuters)-Somalia’s parliamentary speaker has withdrawn an impeachment motion brought against President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud – the latest crisis to threaten the country’s stability as it struggles to rebound from two decades of chaos and war.

Somali lawmakers last month filed the motion against Mohamud, accusing him of abuse of office and “betraying the country”. Mohamud has said he is committed to holding elections before his term runs out in August 2016.

International envoys have urged a rapid resolution to the crisis.

Somalia's President Sheikh Mohamud walks out after attending Sudan's President al-Bashir (not pictured) inauguration ceremony at National Assembly in Omdurman

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (C) walks out after attending Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (not pictured) inauguration ceremony at National Assembly in Omdurman, June 2, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

“We have dropped the motion against the president,” parliament’s speaker Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari said late on Friday, adding he had convened a meeting on Oct.7 to try to resolve the issues raised in the motion.

Jawari said he made his decision because the majority of parliament’s 275 lawmakers wanted the motion resolved through dialogue. “This also came after considering the political, security and economic situation of the country and the short period available,” he added.

But Mohamed Abdullahi Fadhaye, one of the 93 lawmakers who supported the impeachment motion, rejected the speaker’s decision.

“We have neither discussed nor given up the motion. We shall take the matter to the court,” Fadhaye told Reuters on Saturday.

He said Jawari had no constitutional right to throw out the motion but added the lawmakers who backed it would meet later on Saturday to discuss the development.

It was not clear how the lawmakers who filed the motion allege the president had abused his office or betrayed the country.

Donors have complained Mohamud’s cash-strapped government is not doing enough to fight graft and say the theft of scarce government resources had frustrated efforts to build a functioning state.

A 2013 corruption scandal involving the repatriation of overseas Somali state assets frozen at the outset of civil war in 1991 has further strained his relationship with donors. Mohamud and those close to him have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group al Shabaab, which wants to topple the Western-backed government and impose its strict interpretation of Islam on Somalia, has been driven out of major strongholds by African and Somali forces but continues to launch bomb and gun attacks.

(This story corrects the eighth paragraph to show lawmaker said the speaker has no constitutional right to throw out impeachment motion)

(Reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Pravin Char)

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