News: Ethiopia declines to attend upcoming IGAD summit due to ‘overlapping schedule’

IGAD heads of state and government (Photo: Abiy Ahmed Ali/X)

Addis Abeba – The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has revealed difficulty to attend the IGAD extraordinary summit proposed for 18 January 2024, owing to overlapping schedule.

A letter issued by the ministry and addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Djibouti and the IGAD Secretariat, said “commitment to a prior engagement that overlaps with the scheduled meeting and the short notice extended to convene the extraordinary summit” made it difficult for Ethiopia to attend the meeting due to take place in Kampla, Uganda.

Nonetheless, “Ethiopia stands ready to discuss alternative dates in line with the rules of procedure governing meetings of the IGAD” the letter said. A source close to the Djibouti’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed to Addis Standard the authenticity of the widely shared letter.

Attempts to get further comment from the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs were to no avail.

The meeting was called for by Ismail Omar Guelleh, president of Djibouti in his capacity as current chair of the IGAD to discuss ongoing tension between Ethiopia and Somalia following the signing of Ethiopia-Somaliland MoU, as well as the war in Sudan.

The Sudanese government has earlier announced its withdrawal from the upcoming summit emphasizing the necessity for a face-to-face meeting between Sudan’s top military leaders, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemetti), to address pressing issues before broader discussions can occur. It later severed ties with the regional body.

There has been no immediate reaction both from Djibouti and the IGAD secretariat as to whether the meeting will take place as planned in the face of latest announcement from Sudan and Ethiopia. AS

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