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News: Ethiopia pushes for another IGAD Summit, in spite of previous absence

The 42nd special session of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was held on 18 January, 2024, marked by the absence of three member states including Ethiopia (Photo: IGAD)

Addis Abeba – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia has formally petitioned for the arrangement of an extraordinary summit comprising member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to deliberate on prevailing regional concerns and to furnish an elucidation without delay.

In communications acquired by Addis Standard and addressed to Djibouti’s President, Ismail Omar Guelleh, the current IGAD Chairmanship holder, and the IGAD Secretariat, Ethiopia has cited insufficient notice and pre-existing commitments as reasons for its absence at the 18 January summit convened in Kampala.

The summit in Kampala was convened at the behest of Ismail Omar Guelleh to address the persistent tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia subsequent to the endorsement of the Ethiopia-Somaliland Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), alongside the conflict in Sudan.

Nonetheless, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has communicated its impediment to attending, citing an “overlapping schedule.”

In its previous letter, the Ministry articulated that “prior commitments coinciding with the scheduled summit and the limited notice provided for the convening of the extraordinary meeting” rendered it challenging for Ethiopia to participate in the gathering held in Kampala, Uganda.

Following the conclusion of the 42nd Extraordinary Assembly, IGAD reiterated its profound concern regarding the ongoing situation between Ethiopia and Somalia. The regional bloc emphasized the imperative need for constructive dialogue and the implementation of de-escalation measures to alleviate tensions and foster harmonious relations between the two nations.

The assembly was conducted without the presence of two additional member states: Sudan and Eritrea. Sudan chose to suspend its membership, citing dissatisfaction with the agenda as the primary reason for its non-participation, while Eritrea’s rationale for its absence remains undisclosed.

Nearly two weeks subsequent to the summit’s adjournment, Ethiopia is actively pursuing the expeditious arrangement of the Extraordinary Summit, aiming to avail itself of an opportunity to elucidate its stance on current regional issues.

Djibouti, in its capacity as the current chair of IGAD, along with the IGAD Secretariat, is implored to promptly and affirmatively address Ethiopia’s entreaty. AS

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