Horn of Africa Tensions Boil Over, IGAD Summit Addresses Ethiopia-Somalia Rift and Sudan Crisis

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The 42nd Extraordinary Assembly of the IGAD Heads of State and Government was held yesterday January 18, 2024, at State House, Entebbe, to address the escalating tensions between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Federal Republic of Somalia, as well as the crisis in the Republic of Sudan. The summit, chaired by H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti, and Chairperson of IGAD, urged both countries to de-escalate tensions and engage in constructive dialogue.

Expressing grave concerns about the hostilities in Sudan and their impact on security and humanitarian conditions, the IGAD Assembly reaffirmed their call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. Recognizing that Sudan belongs to the Sudanese people, IGAD emphasized the need to end the unjust war and create an environment conducive to political discussions.

According to the communiqué issued after the summit, both Ethiopia and Somalia were urged to hold face-to-face meetings within 14 days to resolve their disagreements. The IGAD Secretariat was tasked with reporting any outcomes to the Assembly.

IGAD Member States pledged their commitment to facilitating a peaceful resolution to the Sudanese conflict. They directed the Secretariat, in coordination with the African Union Commission (AUC), to revise the Roadmap for the Resolution of the Conflict in Sudan. The updated roadmap will include clear timelines and establish a one-month process for establishing a Sudanese-owned and Sudanese-led democratic government.

The high-level summit was attended by several leaders, including H.E. Dr. William Ruto, President of Kenya; H.E. Dr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of Somalia; H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan; and H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

It is worth noting that the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the suspension of relations with IGAD after the regional bloc added Sudan to the agenda of the 42nd Extraordinary Assembly and invited Gen Dagalo to attend.

Distinguished guests at the Assembly included H.E. Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, the Executive Secretary of IGAD; H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission; H.E. Ramtane Lamamra, Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Sudan; H.E. Eng. Waleed M. Alkhuraji, Deputy Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; H.E. Kalifa Shaheen Al Marar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates; H.E. Annette Weber, European Union Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa; H.E. Ambassador Michael Hammer, US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa; H.E. Hossam Zaki, Assistant Secretary General of the League of Arab States; H.E. Mohamed Abdi Ware, IGAD Deputy Executive Secretary; Ambassador Ismail Wais (PhD), IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan and IGAD representative for the Sudan Peace Process; Ambassador Mohamed Ali Guyo (PhD), IGAD Special Envoy for the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Somalia; and Mr. Tutku İnam, Deputy Director-General for East Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Türkiye. Cheikh Conde, Chief-of-Staff of the Office of the UN Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa, also attended.

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