Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh calls for extraordinary IGAD summit amid escalating tension in the Horn of Africa region

Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh, the current Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has on Friday called for extraordinary summit to address the spiralling diplomatic tension between Ethiopia and Somalia over the controversial port deal.

The urgent IGAD meeting is also set to take stock of the current development and security and political situation unfolding in Sudan which have left hundreds of people dead and thousands of others abandoning their residential homes.

Djibouti’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in a official communication said that the summit was convened by President Guelleh and will be hosted by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda on 18 January 2024 in Kampala.

The statement adde that the summit will endeavour to find a solution to two main issues: the escalating strained diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Somalia over the maritime agreement signed by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi, and the current political and security upheavals bedeviling Sudan.

The Ministry further clarified that official invitations will be sent to all IGAD member states, the African Union and international partners through diplomatic avenues .

The statement also outlined that the IGAD Secretariat in Djibouti has been requested to coordinate with the Ugandan government for the facilitation and mobilization of the summit.

In the communication, Djibouti eventually reiterated and reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to the respect of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all IGAD member States.

Djibouti’s statements comes against the backdrop of heightened and escalating tension between Somalia and Ethiopia over a deal signed in Addis Ababa in the beginning of the year by leaders from both sides.

The deal which has sparked public outcry and attracted the attention of the international community paves way for landlocked Ethiopia to have access to the Red sea in return for recognition for the breakaway region of Somaliland that is seeking international recognition as an independent country from the rest of Somalia.

Somalia Federal government has termed the deal unworkable and ratified a law to that aspect nullifying the pact.

Massive demonstrations and public pronouncements have recently hit the international and local news screens protesting against the Memorandum of Understanding.

Somaliland, a separatist state that is yet to gain international recognition has defended the deal and termed it as a milestone in achieving and advancing collaboration between the two sides.

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