Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Ministers and High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini together with Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica met on 22 January 2019 on the margins of the African Union-European Union Ministerial in Brussels.
During the meeting, the two sides strongly condemned the dreadful terrorist attack in Nairobi Kenya. The EU and IGAD welcomed the historic developments in the Horn of Africa with the normalisation of relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the tripartite agreement between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, as well as the engagement of Eritrea and Djibouti and Eritrea and Sudan towards normalisation of relations. Together, these provide major new openings for regional cooperation and economic integration. The EU expressed its readiness to accompany this process in close coordination with other actors.
The EU also reiterated its commitment to the region as a whole and underlined its support to the IGAD cooperation framework while encouraging swift decisions on IGAD institutional arrangements. Both sides stressed their desire to consolidate regular dialogue between the EU and IGAD countries and focused their exchanges on peace and security, red sea and mutually beneficial economic cooperation. IGAD Ministers on their part expressed their appreciation for EU’s continued and constructive role in the region, welcome the initiative for such high level engagement and encouraged future engagements on deliverables in the region’s priority agenda such as job creation.
The EU and IGAD countries expressed support for the reform agenda of the Federal Government of Somalia and underlined the need for concrete implementation of the political, security and economic reforms critical for Somalia’s stability. In this context, it is essential that the Federal Government and the Federal Member States overcome differences and collaborate in a close and coordinated manner. The EU also reiterated its commitment to support Somalia’s Recovery and Resilience Framework (RRF) and to support African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) in line with AMISOM’s mandate [UNSCR 2432 (2018)] and the internationally agreed Somalia Transition Plan.
The two parties also reiterated their support for the peace process in South Sudan and the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). They underlined the importance of its implementation in full and as per the agreed time frame. IGAD invites the EU to consider further support to the South Sudan Pre-transition activities, beyond current EU support to the mechanisms of monitoring and implementation.
The EU and IGAD countries agreed to use all opportunities to promote and strengthen inclusive regional and cross-regional cooperation and dialogue between all relevant stakeholders across the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea on a wide range of issues of mutual interest, such as trade, migration, climate change, food security, peace and security as well as maritime security. In this connection, they agreed to promote regional cooperation, training and capacity building, port security, coastal development as well as blue economy.
The EU underlined the importance of sound economic strategies and long-term political will to sustain the current positive dynamics in the region. In this context, while remaining a strong partner of the region with cooperation programmes currently amounting to over EUR 3 billion, the EU is preparing for further substantial support to economic integration and trade, notably in the context of EU Africa Alliance for investment and jobs.