NAIROBI: President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on IGAD Heads of State and Government to work together towards sustainable solutions to challenges that pose a threat to regional peace and security.
The President cited violent extremism, drought and armed conflicts as some of the challenges that require urgent attention from the IGAD leaders.
“In the past two years alone, the region has experienced a desert locust invasion, a crushing drought that is still ongoing, numerous threats related to violent extremism, armed conflicts and, like the rest of the world, the region has not been spared from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Further, the drought, the worst in 40 years, has intensified food insecurity, dried up water sources and forced displacement of people, raising tensions that could trigger new conflicts. We urgently need to manage the drought before it becomes a threat multiplier,” said the President.
President Kenyatta spoke in Nairobi on Tuesday during the 39th Extraordinary Assembly of the IGAD Heads of State and Government.
Noting that a stable region was beneficial to all IGAD member states, the President said no progress would be realized without peace and security.
“As leaders, it is incumbent upon us to work together boldly and creatively to navigate the multiple crises we face, seize opportunities as they emerge and define a path of peace and sustainable economic development,” President Kenyatta said.
At the summit chaired by the President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council of the Republic of Sudan, General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan, President Kenyatta assured that Kenya will continue to invest in regional efforts to secure peace and stability.
“Our discussions today are, therefore, of immense importance to Kenya because we recognize that our political and economic stability is dependent on the stability of the IGAD region. This is why we are invested in regional efforts to secure peace and stability,” he said.
The Head of State reiterated that Kenya will not waiver in its commitment to collaborating with regional and international partners in strengthening conflict prevention and promoting sustainable peace and development.
Leaders, who spoke at the summit, thanked President Kenyatta for his steadfast commitment to peace and stability in the region.
“You have indeed provided critical leadership in regional and global peace and security. You have distinguished yourself as a beacon of hope for the population affected by conflicts. Your promotion of dialogue, political tolerance and respect for diversity as an instrument for national cohesion and integration is beyond reproach,” said IGAD special envoy Amb. Ismail Guyo on behalf of the IGAD leaders.
African Union Commission representative Amb. Bankole Adeoye who is also the commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, echoed President Kenyatta’s call for IGAD member states to work together in bolstering regional peace and security as well as in addressing emerging issues such as violent extremism and climate change.
“The African Union Commission stands ready to scale up support for IGAD initiatives in all these areas. We work together to consolidate political transitions, to address the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, and to ensure collective security remains our overriding goal,” he said.
Other IGAD leaders who attended the summit included Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, South Sudan 2nd Vice President Taban Deng Gai, Somali Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohammed Gulaid while Uganda was represented by Defence Minister Vincent Ssempijja.