Uncertainty hung over Somalia's Transitional National Government (TNG) on Tuesday after prime minister Hassan Abshir Farah announced that the TNG's mandate would finish on Wednesday at the end of its three-year term.
But TNG President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan, who sacked Hassan Abshir along with parliament speaker Abdallah Derow Isaak at the weekend, has said the interim government will continue until new institutions are formed through free and fair elections. Last month, Abdiqassim walked out of peace talks underway in Kenya saying they were leading towards the "dismemberment" of Somalia.
In a written statement issued in Nairobi on Tuesday, Hassan Abshir and Abdallah Derow Isaak said any attempt to extend the period of the TNG was "unconstitutional".
"We, as the representatives of the TNG, are prepared and willing to hand over power to any duly constituted government that emerges from this conference," they said.
They again accused Abdiqassim of trying to hang on to power, and said there was no quorum in parliament to sanction their dismissals.
In the statement, they expressed regret that many of the TNG objectives - set by the Arta conference of 2000 - had not been accomplished.
This, they said, was due to two main reasons. Firstly the armed opposition had made it impossible for the government to fulfil its mandate, and secondly there had been a "lack of meaningful international support to the government".
"In spite of the difficult stages through which the conference has passed, it is reassuring that the bright end is at long last on the horizon and we are very hopeful that it will produce a broad-based government that will get the Somali people out of the suffering endured in the past decades," the statement said.