Djibouti's ruling party and the main opposition coalition concluded week-long negotiations Saturday (August 24th), announcing a set of initial agreements including the release political prisoners, officials told Sabahi.
"The first step of these negotiations was the review and resolution of the post-electoral situation, starting with questions about the release of Union for National Salvation (USN) political prisoners from Gabode prison," USN Secretary General Abdurahman Mohamed Guelleh told Sabahi.
"This first point of negotiations involved also stopping harassment and repression of USN and the rehabilitation of local elected officials who were stopped from carrying out their mandates," he said.
"The president of the republic can exercise the right of pardon, and that is why the Union for the Presidential Majority (UMP) expressed its readiness to support a request to the president to seek his grace and mercy," said Ibrahim Chehem Daoud, president of the Union of Reform Partisans and member of the ruling coalition.
"Although this issue does not affect the ongoing dialogue, I remain convinced that the presidential pardon can contribute enormously to the final resolution of the post-election crisis," Daoud said.
Negotiations between UMP and USN will resume on September 1st, according to Daher Ahmed Farah, spokesman for the Djibouti opposition who was released from prison on August 14th after more than two months in detention.
The UMP delegation comprises seven members and is led by Minister of Economy and Finance Ilyass Moussa Dawaleh. The USN delegation is led by Ismail Guedi Hared.
Since the February elections, Djiboutian authorities have been engaging in a crackdown against the opposition. However, UMP met with USN officials Wednesday (August 14th) to open official political dialogue.