A Consultative Meeting of IGAD Council of Ministers was held on 17 March 20017 at the African Union Headquarters. The meeting was chaired by H.E. Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers.
Members of the IGAD Council of Ministers in attendance were H.E. Mohamoud Ali Youssouf, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Djibouti, H.E. Abdisalam Hadji Omar Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Somalia, H.E. Prof. Ibrahim, Ghandour Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan and Hon. Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda and Dr. Amb. Monica Juma, Principal Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya. The meeting was also attended by the IGAD Executive Secretary Amb(Eng.) Mahboub Maalim.
The key items on the meeting’s agenda were: the dire humanitarian situation in the IGAD region due to drought emergencies and cases of famine as well as regional peace and security issues particularly developments in Somalia and South Sudan.
On humanitarian issues, the meeting expressed serious concerns about drought emergencies and case of famine currently affecting well over 20 million people. It also acknowledged the likelihood of further deterioration of the situation due to low rainfall forecasts for the coming months that will lead to further collapse of agricultural production. In this regard, the Council called for enhanced support by the international community to complement efforts at national and regional level.
On South Sudan, the Council noted with serious concern the lack of progress in the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) of August 2015 as well as the continued violence across the country. The Council further noted with serious concern the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the country resulting from high-levels of insecurity coupled with serious limitations of access by humanitarian agencies to the affected population.
The Council was unanimous in its support to the national dialogue process that was initiated by the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). The Council called upon the TGoNU to ensure that the national dialogue is all-inclusive. The Council further called upon the parties to the conflict to agree on cessation of hostilities to pave way for a speedy implementation of ARCSS.
The Council underlined the importance of expeditious deployment of the Regional Protection Force (RPF) and requested the TGoNU to complete the facilitation required for deployment. The Council also emphasized the need for strong international support to the deployment.
The Council further reaffirmed that it pursues a common and unified position on regional matters related to peace, security and humanitarian affairs particularly on the current situation in South Sudan and accords highest priority to address all outstanding issues in unison.
On Somalia, the Council lauded the successful conduct of general elections as a milestone achievement. The Council underlined the critical need for continued support to AMISOM and advised against any decrease in support from the international community, which will have a direct bearing on the security situation in the country. The Council also emphasized the need to strengthen the Somali security apparatus as a sustainable solution to the security of Somalia.
The Council recalled the pledges made in Brussels and Istanbul conferences on Somalia and appealed to those concerned to honor their pledges. The Council further called for support from the international community to invest in infrastructural development towards socio-economic recovery. The Council agreed to adopt a common position in anticipation of the London Somalia Conference in May 2017.
The Council reiterated the leading role that IGAD has played and continued to play in bringing about peace and security in South Sudan in collaboration with partners particularly with the AU and the UN. The Council also reflected on regional issues of migration and refugees as well as security and humanitarian issues in South Sudan and Somalia in anticipation of the 23 March 2017 briefing to the United Nations Security Council on South Sudan as well as the 25 March 2017 IGAD Summit on Somali Refugees.
The IGAD Executive Secretary suggested to the Council to convene a Summit of IGAD Heads of State and Government on the IGAD resilience agenda in June 2017 to showcase what the region has been able to achieve particularly through sustained investments in building resilience in the borderlands. END