The president of the interim government of Somalia has walked out of peace talks in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, at a crucial stage of a process aimed at ending years of fighting in the country.
President Salat warned of a fresh civil war
President Abdikassim Salat Hassan accused a
committee steering the peace conference and other Somali delegates of sanctioning the "dismemberment" of the Horn of Africa country.
But at a news conference in Nairobi, the Transitional National Government (TNG) speaker, Abdi Derrow Isaq, said the president was trying to wreck the whole process of the peace talks because his term in office was ending in a fortnight.
Mr Isaq denied Mr Salat's claim that the TNG had suspended its participation in the talks, saying they would continue in the president's absence.
Another TNG delegate at the talks, Abdi Rahaman Dinari, said President Salat's move would not affect the peace efforts since he walked out of the talks individually and did not have the support of the whole group.
International observers say that Mr Salat, who controls only 25% of the Somali capital Mogadishu, doubts his future in a new administration which was supposed to be in place by the end of July.
The BBC's Hassan Barise says that Mr Salat received a warm welcome back home in Mogadishu, as a large convoy of battle wagons, government officials and dozens of MPs went to meet him at the city's airport.
"I pulled out of the conference because it became a plot to divide Somalia and that it aimed at changing the Somalia's religion, tradition and language," he told his supporters.
The peace talks continue
However, he declined to talk about his next move, saying that the Somali people would decide "their destiny, and hold a meeting in their home country and establish a system which satisfies their needs".
President Salat expressed concerns on the outcome of the conference in Kenya, which he claimed "might bring about the flare-up of yet another civil war among the Somalis inside the country".
Should he refuse to relinquish power by mid-August, as required by the peace deal, then there is likely to be confrontation between the new government and Mr Salat's clan.
The president is reportedly opposed to the establishment of a federal government to govern Somalia for the next four years, and the formation of a transitional parliament of 351 members which will appoint the federal president, who in turn will name a new prime minister.
But the deal has been praised by international observers as a significant step towards a peaceful Somali after years of fighting between powerful warlords since 1991, when the dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted.
Mr Salat is the third leader to pull out of the talks since peace negotiations started 10 months ago in Nairobi.
More than a dozen attempts to broker peace in Somalia since then have failed.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, (Igad), the regional peace mediators, are keen to see that all factions are included in the new government.
Igad and the African Union (AU) have said that a peacekeeping force will be deployed in Mogadishu and other regions of southern Somalia once the new administration starts to operate.
Last month the European Union said it would give financial support to cover the cost of the deployment of the AU force, comprising troops from Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa.