Panafrican News Agency

IGAD welcomes Obasanjo's appointment to lead peace effort in Eastern Africa

Djibouti, Djibouti (PANA) – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has welcomed the recent appointment of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa.

IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu said the appointment of President Obasanjo would assist in streamlining the relationship between IGAD, which represents the interests of the governments in the Horn of Africa, and the African Union.

“Former President Obasanjo is an experienced statesman, leader and diplomat,” the IGAD Secretary said in a statement.

His appointment comes in the wake of mounting political challenges facing the East African region where Ethiopia is currently embroiled in a conflict with authorities in its northern region.

The nearly nine-month long conflict has led to massive population displacements and a mounting humanitarian challenge as aid convoys have become targets of the conflict and populations in parts of Tigray have no access to basic services.

Workneh, Ethiopia’s former Foreign minister, said the appointment of the experienced statesman was an important step given the need for coherence between efforts of IGAD, the AU and other partners in addressing development needs and sustainable peace in the region.

He said that he looked forward to the pleasure of closely working with the new AU envoy to strengthen  and partnership.

Obasanjo’s main tasks would be to mediate in the raging conflicts in the region amid the souring of diplomatic ties between the various IGAD member states in recent months over their security and political developments.

Kenya and Somalia are currently working to restore diplomatic ties which were broken towards the end of 2020, when Somalia accused Kenya of meddling in its internal political affairs.

An IGAD investigation into the allegations made by Somalia against Kenya failed to nail any evidence of direct interference in Somalia’s politics and security.

However, Somalia rejected the outcome of a verification mission deployed to investigate the claims. Kenya and Somalia are also embroiled in a maritime territorial dispute along the Indian Ocean coast. The case is currently at a UN Court of arbitration.

On the other hand, Sudan and Ethiopia continue to explore measures to work closely on their border security amid the conflict in Tigray region.

-0- PANA AO/AR 1Sept2021