IGAD Members Describe Sudan War as Unjust, Call for Constructive Dialogue Between Ethiopia and Somalia

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has today convened its 42nd Extraordinary Assembly of Heads of State and Government, hosted by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda at State House, Entebbe. 

The meeting was chaired by H.E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, the President of the Republic of Djibouti and the Chairperson of the IGAD Heads of State and Government. Other heads of state in attendance were H.E. Dr. William Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya; H.E. Dr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia and H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan. 

In a joint communique issued on January 18, 2024, the leaders decried the Sudan war as unjust and underscored that the Republic of Sudan belongs to its people, urging an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end the war. 

The members also reiterated their call for dialogue and negotiation, extending IGAD’s readiness to facilitate an inclusive peace process, collaborating closely with all Sudanese stakeholders, the African Union (AU) and international actors.

Looking ahead, the heads of state proposed a face-to-face meeting between Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemedti, the head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) within 14 days to initiate reconciliation. 

In a move towards concrete action, the leaders further directed the IGAD Secretariat, in coordination with the AU, to revise the roadmap for the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of Sudan, ensuring a clear timeline. 

The collective call resonated beyond IGAD, as the leaders urged the African Union and the international community to mobilise support for the peace process in the Republic of Sudan. 

Addressing the media, President Museveni noted that the leaders throughout their discussions resolved that the conflicting parties must stop what he called the unprincipled war. 

“We described the Sudan war as unjust. We freedom fighters pay attention to these wars. When we were fighting for freedom, we were fighting for justice and we could not get it by any other means,” the President said. 

“I was sharing with Your Excellencies, if you take for instance the history of African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa, it was founded in 1912 but I don’t think they adopted the armed struggle strategy until 1961; so, for 50 years they were using peaceful methods including petitions and demonstrations. It was only when the oppressor completely closed the possibilities of peaceful ways of doing things that the ANC declared war, but you have got wars, every small thing is war. This is ideological shallowness in our view,” he added. 

On the other hand, the leaders issued a resounding call for peace and dialogue, urging the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Federal Republic of Somalia to de-escalate tensions and embrace constructive dialogue.

Furthermore, the Heads of State reaffirmed their commitment to the cardinal principles of respecting the sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Somalia. 

IGAD, which is headquartered in Djibouti city, Djibouti, is an eight-country trade bloc in Africa that includes governments from the Horn of Africa, the Nile Valley and the African Great Lakes.