An IGAD high level consultative meeting on mediation was convened in Addis Ababa today, bringing together participants from IGAD Member States and IGAD Secretariat. The meeting is expected to pave the way for the formation of an IGAD Mediation Support Unit the work of which is to assist Member States’ efforts in the area of mediation and to enhance the institutional capacity of the organization towards mediation and preventive diplomacy.
“IGAD is well known for its efforts to establish peace and security in the region and has accumulated experiences in negotiating and mediating peace,” said Hon. Netsannet Asfaw, the Director of Peace and Security of IGAD who read a statement from the Executive Secretary, Eng. Mahboub Maalim, that pointed out IGAD’s role in the Sudan and South Sudan and Somalia peace processes.
Ambassador Fisseha Yimer, Special Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in his opening remarks stated that Ethiopia as Chair of IGAD acknowledges the initiative taken by the Secretariat in consultation with the Member States and said his country will work closely with the IGAD Secretariat and Member States towards institutionalizing mediation efforts.
“Needless to say, mediation is a demanding activity. We cannot create best mediators overnight,” said Ambassador Fisseha Yimer stressing the need to work more on capacity building programs aimed at enhancing skills in mediation and negotiation skills.
The meeting is expected to deliberate for two days on the establishment of the IGAD Mediation Support Unit (MSU) and related issues.