(Bloomberg) -- Somalia’s federal government failed to reach an agreement with regional states to end an ongoing disagreement over elections.

“I want to make it clear to the Somali people that the two presidents of Puntland and Jubaland do not want to hold elections in the country and they failed the talks,” Somalia’s Information Minister Osman Abukar Dube said in Mogadishu, the nation’s capital.

The ministers of the federal state of Jubaland and the semi-autonomous region of Puntland denied the allegations in a counter media briefing in the capital. They accused President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, popularly known as Farmajo, of showing a lack of interest in the talks in a bid to extend his stay in power. Farmajo is seeking re-election after his four-year term in office expired on Feb. 8.

An extension could be catastrophic, said Omar Mahmood, a senior Somalia analyst at the International Crisis Group. “This type of infighting and distraction always benefits al-Shabaab. As long as things are deadlocked, that means the attention of political elites are on each other, rather than al-Shabaab,” he said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.