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IGAD Executive Secretary in Somalia for talks with top FGS leaders

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia – The new IGAD’s Executive Secretary Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu has arrived in Mogadishu on Tuesday for a two-day working visit to the Somali capital, Garowe Online reports.

Somalia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Isse Awad has welcomed Workneh Gebeyehu and his entourage at Aden Adde International airport, and subsequently, he was escorted to Villa Somalia.

The visiting IGAD’s top official has held talks with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo at his office in the presidential Palace under AU troops’ protection on regional issues and the bloc’s reforms.

“I expressed my resolve to make IGAD live up to the expectations of its Member States & be one of the most vibrant regional organizations globally with guidance and support from the leaders,” Gebeyehu tweeted.

Somalia, as a founding member of the IGAD, seeks to enhance its relations and partnerships with East African countries to achieve economic growth and regional integration.

Awad has held a lunch banquet at a hotel in Mogadishu in the honor of the Executive Secretary of IGAD and his accompanying delegation. The banquet was attended by advisers to President Farmajo and PM Hassan Ali Khaire.

The Former Ethiopian foreign minister has made several regional shuttle tours since his appointment to this position on October 22, 2019, taking over from Kenyan Mahboub Maalim.

He is facing numerous challenges of unifying the bloc’s members, bring in Eritrea and raise funds for a bloc that has often relied on donors for most of its programs.

Djibouti, which has been eyeing the position of the IGAD’s Executive Secretary, complains that Kenya and Ethiopia have dominated the leadership of the East African regional bloc and have allegedly swayed most decisions in the eight-member body in their favor.

The post of the executive secretary has been held by Kenya since 2008 with Ethiopia having chairmanship.

The first chair was the late Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi, followed by Hailemariam Desalegn, and Abiy Ahmed who handed over to Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok after he has been elected in November 2019.

The chairmanship was supposed to go to Sudan in 2016, but partner states feared that the indictment of the then leader, Omar al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court could have led some Western donors to pull out support.

Kenya and Djibouti—previously close allies—fell out in August when Djibouti defied the African Union’s endorsement of Kenya’s candidature for a UN Security Council seat.

Djibouti continues to push for the non-permanent seat, by taking the campaign directly to other UN member states.

In 2017, Djibouti backed Kenya’s candidate for the African Union Commission Chair, Amina Mohamed.


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