IGAD calls Upon Ethiopia and Somalia to De-escalate Tensions and Instead Engage in Constructive Dialogue : Insights from the 42nd IGAD Assembly in Uganda

The 42nd Extraordinary Assembly of the IGAD Heads of State and Government convened on Thursday, 18th January 2024, in Entebbe, Republic of Uganda. The focus centered on the unfolding situation in the Republic of Sudan and recent developments in the relationship between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Federal Republic of Somalia.

Under the stewardship of H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti and Chairperson of the IGAD Heads of State and Government, the Assembly gathered esteemed leaders, including H.E. Dr. William Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Dr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan, and H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda. Distinguished figures, such as H.E. Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, the Executive Secretary of IGAD, and representatives from the African Union Commission, the United Nations, and various international entities, were also in attendance.

The Assembly, propelled by statements and ensuing deliberations on Sudan and the evolving dynamics between Ethiopia and Somalia, unveiled a narrative of shared concern, diplomatic engagement, and a commitment to regional peace.

Amid the discussions, the Assembly extended congratulations to the people and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda for orchestrating the successful organization of the 42nd Extraordinary IGAD Assembly, alongside the Non-Aligned Movement and the G77 + China Summits. The warm reception afforded to delegates was acknowledged with appreciation.

Profound worry was expressed over the recent developments straining the relationship between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Federal Republic of Somalia. The Assembly, in response, reasserted fundamental principles rooted in respect for the sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Somalia. Emphasizing that engagements must align with these principles and any agreements necessitate the consent of the Federal Government of Somalia, the Assembly called for de-escalation and constructive dialogue between Ethiopia and Somalia.

Turning its attention to the ongoing conflict in Sudan, the Assembly issued a resounding call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. It emphasized that Sudan belongs not only to the conflicting parties but, most importantly, to the Sudanese people. The Assembly, cognizant of the dire security and humanitarian consequences of the war, reiterated its commitment to facilitating an all-inclusive peace process. Collaboration with Sudanese stakeholders, the African Union, and international partners was underscored as pivotal in this endeavor.

Acknowledging the primary responsibility of IGAD Member States to uphold the will of the Sudanese people, the Assembly recalled the commitment of conflicting parties to a face-to-face meeting within 14 days, urging a prompt gathering within two weeks. The determination to employ all available means and capabilities for a peaceful resolution of the Sudanese conflict was expressed, with the IGAD Secretariat directed to provide regular updates to the Assembly.

In a forward-looking move, the Assembly directed the IGAD Secretariat, in collaboration with the African Union Commission, to revise the Roadmap for the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of Sudan. This revision, anchored in clear timelines, aims to pave the way for a Sudanese-owned and Sudanese-led process toward a democratic government within one month.

The Assembly called upon IGAD, in coordination with the AU and the international community, to mobilize robust support for the peace process, signaling a collective determination to bring an end to the conflict in the Republic of Sudan.

The appointment of a High-Level Panel for Sudan by the African Union Commission was welcomed with optimism, as the Assembly urged collaborative efforts with IGAD and other stakeholders to facilitate the peace process in Sudan.

In a final declaration, the Assembly affirmed its commitment to remain actively seized of these matters, signifying an enduring dedication to the complex and critical issues at hand.