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‘Federal government took legitimate steps’ — AU Chair

In Ethiopia, the federal government took bold steps to preserve the unity, stability and respect for the constitutional order of the country; which is legitimate for all states.

Opening Remarks of the Chairperson of the African Union

Opening Remarks of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, at 38th Extraordinary Summit

December 20, 2020

Excellency President Ismael Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti,
Your Excellency Dr Abdallah Hamdok, Prime Minister of the Republic of Sudan and Current Chairman of IGAD,
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Honourable Ministers, members of the diplomatic corps,
Mr Executive Secretary of IGAD,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, the Horn of Africa finds itself in a a very particular situation, and IGAD, its Regional Organization is experiencing more than one tough challenge.

I therefore appreciate your decision to hold this important extraordinary summit and for inviting me to be with you today.

This is a good time, and Djibouti the good place to gather the IGAD family to deal with regional challenges. Not only because Djbouti is the headquarters of IGAD, it is also a peaceful country led by a leader, His Exellency president Ismael Omar Guelleh, who embodies wisdom and is a good neighbour to all.


Allow me to give a broad outline of some priority areas from the regional landscape:

In South Sudan, peace and reconciliation continue to call for greater efforts from national stakeholders and the region, to defend the gains made so far so as to ensure much needed peace, security and stability in the country.

I’m particularly happy to see that Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng is here representing South Sudan at this summit.

Sudan – where democratic transition is underway- continues to face immense political and economic challenges. Here too, fraternal solidarity is needed now more than ever before.

Here I wish to commend the Juba Agreeement with armed movements which was an important step in the road to restore peace, security and national reconciliation in all of Sudan.

The recent decision to remove Sudan from the US list of State Sponsors of Terrorism is also an overdue but vital key to revive Sudan’s economic relations with the outside world.

I therefore call upon national civilian and military stakeholders to work together and honour the legitimate aspirations of the Sudanese people, who celebrated the second anniversary of the Revolution yesterday.

In Somalia, despite progress in the fight against terrorism and in strengthening the federal institutions, profound fragilities continue to pose challenges to this country.

The African Union welcomes the resumption of dialogue between the Federal State and the federated States, and remains committed to support ongoing efforts.

In the area of security, AMISOM has been in existence for more than a decade. It is now time for Somalis to take their destiny and country into their own hands. Soon, the country will also be gearing up for elections, and needs a conducive environment to organise a credible electoral process. Somalis have high and legitimate expectations to live in peace and stability.

In Ethiopia, the federal government took bold steps to preserve the unity, stability and respect for the constitutional order of the country; which is legitimate for all states.

It cannot be denied, however, that the crisis in Tigray has provoked large scale displacement.

We encourage IGAD to support Ethiopia in addressing the humanitarian dimensions. Particular attention should be paid to refugees and displaced people

It is necessary to recall the important role that Ethiopia plays in peacekeeping operations in the Region, and I hope that these efforts will continue.

The recent tensions between Somalia and Kenya, two neighbouring countries, which led to the breakdown of diplomatic relations, remain a serious concern for the African Union.

I would, therefore, like to call on the two parties to open dialogue with a view to the resumption of these relations, and ask IGAD to strongly encourage them in this regard.

Kenya, it should be noted, is a Troop-Contributing Country to AMISOM, and hosts a large community of Somali refugees. I’m convinced that the long-standing and strong links between the two countries and peoples can overcome the current challenges

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Recently the African Union held two extraordinary Summits, one on Silencing the Guns and one for the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, where important decisions were adopted.

These decisions confirm the important role of Regional Economic Communities; and here I want to point out the strategic role that IGAD is expected to play for the Africa we want; integrated, prosperous and peaceful.

I therefore reiterate the commitment of the African Union to contribute to efforts in the Region. Africa can no longer and should not suffer from the tensions and divisions.

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