The IGAD Heads of State and Government held its 33th Extra-ordinary session at the UNECA in Addis Ababa yesterday.
In his opening remark, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister and Chairperson of IGAD Dr. Abiy Ahmed said it had been convened after Ethiopia and Eritrea, Eritrea and Djibouti, and Sudan and Eritrea had been reconciled and started the processes of normalization and rapprochement.
The restoration of peace and fraternity between and among the members of the regional community had created a conducive environment to lift relations to a higher level and pave the way for economic integration.
To that end, the IGAD Heads of State and Government restored Eritrea’s IGAD membership, in abeyance since 2007.
The Chairperson thanked Sudan’s President Omer al-Bashir for his leadership of the IGAD-mediated South Sudan talks in Khartoum and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda for his role.
He applauded the positive gesture extended by Kenya for the mediation process to continue and be concluded in Khartoum.
Above all, Chairperson thanked the conflicting parties and other partners for their tireless efforts and commitments to close down the dark chapter of conflict and respond to the aspirations and hopes of South Sudanese People by signing the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan.
He called on them to stand firm and ensured its full implementation.
IGAD Secretary Engineer Mahboub Maalim addressed the session and invited representatives and partners to give their views on the outcome of South Sudan peace process and reconciliation and its impact on regional peace and economic integration.
The representatives and partners of IGAD offered their strong commitment to support and advance the IGAD-led peace-building process and the regional economic integration taking place in the Horn of Africa.
The outgoing Chairperson of the IGAD Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission for South Sudan, Festus Mogae also addressed the session.
He said he hoped he had left institutions and a team that would be able to advance the peace process for South Sudan and in turn contribute to Africa’s solutions for Africa’s problems.
Finally, in the presence of the IGAD Chairperson and the Heads of State and Government, the South Sudanese Parties signed the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan.
They expressed their strong commitment to implement the Agreement completely, to open a new beginning in which all South Sudan’s parties would come together to build an inclusive government to provide fully for the needs and demands of the people of South Sudan.
The signing ceremony was attended by Presidents of Djibouti, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda and Kenya’s Foreign Minister as well as representatives of the UN, EU, IGAD Partners Forum, the TROIKA, China, and AU Commission. (FBC)