Africa: communique of IGAD heads of State and Government

February 3, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Posted in Africa | Leave a comment
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An informal meeting of the IGAD Heads of State and government was held on February 2nd, 2009, on the margins of the 12th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union. The meeting was chaired by H.E. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minster of Ethiopia and Current Chairman of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Present at the meeting were H.E. Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti; H.E. Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya; H.E. Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia; H.E. Omar Hassan Ahmed Elbashir, President of the Republic of Sudan; H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda and H.E. Eng. Mahboub M. Maalim, Executive Secretary of IGAD.

The IGAD Heads of State and Government exchanged views on the political development in Somalia following the election of a new President and the issue of strengthening the African Union mission (AMISOM).

H.E. Sheik Sharif outlined the political, security and humanitarian challenges facing his country. He informed members of the Assembly that his Government’s priorities are:

* Addressing the security problem by building a joint Somali force and working in close collaboration with AMISOM.
* Establishing Government of National Unity through a process of national reconciliation.
* Developing peaceful and friendly relations with the neighboring countries based on international law and AU Principles;
* Mobilizing humanitarian assistance to the huge Somali population affected by war and natural calamities.
* Preparing for a general election in Somalia due to take place within two years.

Members of the IGAD Assembly congratulated H.E. Sheik Sharif upon his election and welcomed him to the IGAD family. After exchanging views on the current political and security development in Somalia and after deliberating on the issue of strengthening AMISOM, members of the Assembly agreed on the following conclusions:

1. There is a need on the part of the new Government to build the joint Somali forces made up of troops from the TFG and ARS.
2. International Community is called upon by the Government of Somalia and the region to provide as a matter of urgency technical and financial support to build the Somali army.
3. While appealing for international assistance the Member States of IGAD pledge to take initiatives by providing material and technical support as well as training to the Somali forces.
4. IGAD Member States shall lobby on behalf of the Government of Somalia for an urgent mobilization of humanitarian assistance to the population affected by war and natural calamities.
5. IGAD Member States will keep close liaison with the Government of Somalia through its newly appointed Facilitator and continue to render it the necessary political support as the latter continues its endeavor for peace and national reconciliation.

Members of the Assembly also discussed the issue of the indictment of H.E. Omar Hassan Elbashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and called upon the United Nations Security Council to defer the process initiated by the ICC as per Article 16 of the Rome Statute and in accordance with the resolutions adopted by the African Union, IGAD and the League of Arab States. They also called upon the AU 12th Assembly to reiterate this position as a common position of Africa.

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