News: US Horn of Africa envoy heads to Ethiopia, Uganda for high-stakes discussions

Mike Hammer, U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa

Addis Abeba – The US Department of State has revealed that Mike Hammer, the US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, is set to travel to Addis Abeba and Kampala for high-stakes discussions.

While in Kampala, Ambassador Hammer will participate in the 42nd Extraordinary Summit of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), scheduled to be held on 18 January, 2024.

The summit was initiated by Ismail Omar Guelleh, the President of Djibouti, in his capacity as the current Chair of the IGAD.

The purpose of the meeting was to address the prevailing tension between Ethiopia and Somalia subsequent to the signing of the Ethiopia-Somaliland Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), along with deliberations on the ongoing conflict in Sudan.

A statement from the State Department underscores the United States’ endorsement of the IGAD diplomatic initiative, emphasizing its recognition of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Somalia within its 1960 borders.

It has been reported that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia has arrived in Kampala to partake in the 42nd emergency meeting of the leaders of member countries of the IGAD, scheduled to be conducted in Uganda.

On the other hand, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has revealed difficulty attending the IGAD extraordinary summit owing to overlapping schedules.

Regarding the persistent conflict in Sudan, Ambassador Hammer’s visit aims to demonstrate support for ongoing regional and international efforts to resolve the conflict. He will advocate for unhindered humanitarian access, promote a democratic transition, and support justice and accountability for victims of violence.

During his trip to Ethiopia, Ambassador Hammer plans to meet with African Union officials to coordinate efforts on Sudan and address other regional priorities.

Additionally, discussions with Ethiopian officials will center on the urgent need to continue implementing the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in northern Ethiopia. This includes making strides in disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR), as well as advancing a victim-centered transitional justice process.

The statement emphasizes Ambassador Hammer’s commitment to promoting dialogue to address political and security crises in the Amhara and Oromia regions. He will call on all parties involved to safeguard civilians, refrain from incendiary rhetoric, and uphold human rights throughout these challenging times. AS

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