Monday, July 12, 2010

IGAD Convenes Its 15th Extra-Ordinary Summit on Somalia

Source: A Week in the Horn (09.07.2010) Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

The 15th Extraordinary IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government was held in Addis Ababa, on 5th July 2010, under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The Summit considered the political and security situation in Somalia. The Assembly was attended by all the leaders of IGAD member states except Eritrea. Prior to the Summit meeting the Council held consultations on the 4th of July 2010 on developments since its last session on 15th June 2010.

In his opening remark PM Meles underscored the gravity of the situation in Somalia. He underlined that the status quo in Somalia must not be allowed to continue. In this regard he said, "As we take stock of the prevailing situations, the way we have been trying to deal with the challenge has fallen far short of bringing the desired result. Hence, in the light of the prevailing political and security situation in Somalia, the status must be changed. Recent security in the country does not augur well. This coupled with the approaching end of the transition period, calls for serious work within the remaining time frame. In this regard, the Somalis, IGAD, AU and other stakeholders have to chart out specific actions and play their respective role in a more proactive manner."

The Ethiopian Prime Minister further stated that, the Somalis, as owners of their own destiny had to be at the forefront of the struggle for peace and stability in Somalia and that their role could not be replaced. According to PM Meles, IGAD and others could only support the endeavour of the people of Somalia. While pointing out that the tasks to be accomplished during the transition period were enormous, he reminded the Somali leaders that a lot was expected from the TFG and expressed hope they would live up to expectation in meeting the challenge. With regard to IGAD, he underscored that it needed to be more proactive in dealing with the situation and to enhance its support to the IGAD process, which he said was the only framework and the best option to deal with the challenges faced by Somalia. He emphasised that the extremists must not be allowed, at any cost, to spoil the transition process and pointed out that the gravity of the problem required a concerted effort on the part of Somalis, IGAD, Africa Union and the international community at large. However, Prime Minister Meles regretted that Somalia so far had not received the necessary attention it deserved while at the same time expressing his gratitude to the international community for giving assistance and support to the people of Somalia, however, meagre it was. But he once again reiterated that the support and assistance offered to Somalia was not commensurate with the enormity of the challenges the Country continued to face. While underscoring the need for IGAD members to reaffirm their commitment to the peace and stability of Somalia, he at the same time called upon the international community to play its role. He pointed out that there was no reason why a UN peace keeping force could not be deployed in areas where African peace keepers were doing what ever they can to assist the people and Government of Somalia. He concluded by calling upon the UN to deploy a peace keeping force to replace AMISOM.

Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the President of the TFG, on his part underlined in a briefing to the Summit that the meeting was timely and should come up with concrete measures to address the challenges posed by extremists with foreign agenda. He expressed the full readiness of the people of Somalia to fight the scourge of terrorism but said they needed the support of the IGAD region as a whole in their day to day struggle.