Sudan will host on Wednesday the 48th regular meeting of IGAD foreign ministers in its capacity as the head of the current IGAD session. The acting Foreign Minister, Ambassador Ali Al-Saddiq, will chair this session, while the technical meeting of experts will be held tomorrow, Tuesday to prepare for the ministerial meeting.The acting Foreign Minister, Ambassador Ali Al-Saddiq, said in a statement to Sudan News Agency (SUNA) that the meeting will discuss issues related to achieving peace and security in the IGAD countries and the issues of drought, desertification and climate change, in addition to discussing disputes within and between countries in order to establish stability and peace in the IGAD region.
The minister pointed out that Sudan obtains a road map to reactivate its presidency of the IGAD, affirming Sudan keenness to cooperate with all the member states to reactivate and approve this map. He explained that the road map includes several axes, which are the development of agriculture, natural resources and environment, achieving food security and redistributing some IGAD centers in an equitable manner among the member states of the organization. He said that the second axis deals with the economic cooperation, the regional integration and social development, as Sudan initiative includes the establishment of the Economic Community of the Horn of Africa, maximizing the benefits of the Horn of Africa and China’s initiatives with regard to the infrastructural development for IGAD countries, and reactivating the IGAD Infrastructure Agreement, introducing the IGAD Maritime and Regional Transport Initiative, strengthening the role of youth, the empowering women, and completing of initiating to implement outcomes of the Sudan and South Sudan initiative on refugees, displaced persons and the host communities.
The minister referred to the other axes of the road map, which relate to peace, security, institutional development and the adoption of the Arabic language as one of the official languages beside the current languages in IGAD - the English and French, adding that there is a focus on the search to find non-traditional partners such as China, the Gulf states and Russia. Ambassador Al-Saddiq noted that there is a platform of the IGAD partners, which includes 28 countries, mostly Western countries, and two organizations, namely the European Union and the Arab League, , saying that “Sudan, during its presidency of the IGAD, seeks to find other partners and wants to create a balance in the international relations between the East and the West. It is worth mentioning that IGAD was established when the United Nations General Assembly recommended on December 5, 1980 that the countries of the Horn of Africa are to establish a joint body to combat drought and desertification in the Horn of Africa. Thus, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and Desertification (IGAD) was established in 1986. Some of the IGAD countries are still suffering from drought and desertification, a matter that led to famines in the countries of the region. In 1996, the IGAD member states met in Nairobi and agreed to amend the charter of the organization and change its name to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. The founding countries of the IGAD are Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti and Somalia, which are members in the organization, while Eritrea has suspended its membership in 2007.