(BRUSSELS, 31 MARCH 2009) The third ministerial Troika meeting between the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the European Union (EU) was held in Brussels on 31 March 2009 under the Co–Chairs of His Excellency Dr Tekeda Alemu, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers, and Jan Kohout, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic representing the President of the Council of the EU.
The IGAD Troika further included the Executive Secretary of IGAD, His Excellency Mahboub M. Maalim, His Excellency Al-Samani Al-Wasila Al-Samani, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sudan and Honourable Richard Onyonka, Assistant Minster of Foreign Affairs of Kenya. The EU Troika included Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Joakim Stymne, State Secretary for Development Cooperation of Sweden and a representative of the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
Discussions were held in an open and constructive atmosphere, addressing issues of mutual concern. The parties exchanged views on a number of regional and global issues, including the global financial crisis. The EU and IGAD shared the focus of making regional cooperation and integration the building blocks for peace and sustainable development in their Member States.
IGAD REVITALIZATION AND REFORM
The parties noted that IGAD was in a stage of reform and revitalisation, focussing its activities on priority areas of regional cooperation and strengthening the effectiveness of the IGAD Secretariat and Member States’ commitments. IGAD informed the EU of its plans for revitalization and reform.
The Parties agreed that IGAD reform presents a unique opportunity to engage more strongly the IGAD Member States. The Parties agreed that it was important to continue the inclusive approach of IGAD to reintegrate Eritrea as an active Member State. They underlined that IGAD, as acknowledged by the African Union, has a strategic role both as a vehicle for promoting economic integration among Member States and as a forum for promoting cooperation for peace, security and stability in the region, particularly in promoting confidence and mutual cooperation between Member States thereby contributing to defuse problems that might arise in connection with border disputes and other types of conflicts.
The EU stated its readiness to support the efforts of IGAD Member States to revitalise, reform and strengthen IGAD. The parties agreed that political and financial commitments from Member States were a pre-requisite for effective regional cooperation of mutual benefit. The EU welcomed IGAD’s Minimum Integration Plan as a means to deepen regional cooperation and integration. It should create synergies with the overall economic integration effort within the continent as a whole and in concert with other regional organisations.
JOINT AFRICA-EU STRATEGY AND IGAD’S ROLE
The parties welcomed progress made in the implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and its first Action Plan (2008-2010) and underlined the role of the regional organisations in this process. The EU welcomed IGAD’s involvement in the implementation of the First Action Plan of the Joint Strategy and both sides called on all parties to expedite efforts with a view to attaining tangible results as agreed within the timeframe of the first Action Plan. Parties moreover underlined the necessity to involve Non State Actors, Parliaments and the Private Sector in the implementation of the partnership.
As regards the cooperation and partnership in the area of peace and security, the parties recalled the progress made by the African Union and the regional economic communities in Africa, including IGAD, in contributing to conflict management. The parties notably commended the efforts of conflict-prevention and mediation, monitoring and early warning, peace-support missions and post-conflict recovery. The EU commended IGAD initiatives in the field of peace and security, especially ICPAT and CEWARN.
The parties underlined the importance of consolidating the work of IGAD in these areas, within the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION HORN OF AFRICA INITIATIVE
The EU stated its intention to step up its engagement in the Horn of Africa in order to promote peace and security and the rule of law, including respect for principles of international law governing interstate relations, through enhanced regional cooperation, confidence building and development to the benefit of the peoples and countries in the region. The EU welcomed further cooperation with IGAD and its seven Member States in this context. The Parties welcomed the progress that has been made so far within the framework of the Horn of Africa Initiative of the European Commission, which forms the basis for concrete engagement through development cooperation, and agreed to speed up the implementation of the Initiative on the basis of the outcome of the IGAD Summit of 14 June 2008.
The Parties expressed their interest in developing a political partnership to advance peace and sustainable development in the region of the Horn of Africa, based on the principles of international law, human rights and democratic governance. The parties recognized the need to work closely with relevant partners engaged in the Horn of Africa, including the African Union, the League of Arab States and Regional Economic Communities.
IGAD welcomed closer cooperation with the EU. It particularly welcomed the announcement by the European Commission to open a Delegation in Djibouti. The EU welcomed IGAD’s intent to nominate an IGAD-EU liaison officer which will greatly facilitate collaboration between the EU and IGAD.
IGAD and the EU, recalling the communiqué of the International Contact Group on Somalia of 27-28 February 2009, welcomed the progress in the Djibouti peace process, under the leadership of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General Ould Abdallah, and support the commitment demonstrated by the new Transitional Government of Somalia to address, as a matter of urgency, security and the rule of law, continued outreach and reconciliation and early recovery for the conflict-torn Somali people. The Parties encouraged therefore all Somalis to join the peace process and all countries to support it. They also expressed their appreciation and backing for the role of the AU, in particular the deployment of AMISOM and the crucial troop contributions by the Governments of Burundi and Uganda. The Parties noted the importance of the upcoming pledging conference in Brussels in April on support to the Somali security sector through AMISOM and the UN.
Both sides recognised the need to closely coordinate their initiatives with the UN and the AU and continue their discussions so that they will be in a position to contribute effectively to what the Transitional Government of Somalia needs. The EU welcomed the recent appointment by IGAD of a Facilitator on Somalia. The EU confirmed its commitment to continue and increase its support to the policy of the new Transitional Government to broaden its base and bring on board all those who are committed to peace and national reconciliation. IGAD commended the EU’s contribution to the international efforts to curb piracy and protect the shipment of humanitarian relief off the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden, through the deployment of the maritime military mission EU NAVFOR ATALANTA hosted by Djibouti. IGAD further commended the EU’s contribution to address the root causes of piracy through sustainable development and the restauration of the rule of law in Somalia.
IGAD and the EU exchanged views on the situation in the Sudan, including the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant concerning the President of the Sudan. The Parties recognised the statements of the AU, the EU, the League of Arab States and IGAD on the ICC decision and its consequences.
The Parties agreed that it is important to respect the distinctly separate roles of humanitarian assistance and politics. The Parties recognised the importance of development assistance to address the underlying causes of conflict and crisis. They further agreed that the most important long term challenge is peace and stability in Sudan achieved through the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), as sponsored by IGAD, including the elections and the peace processes in Darfur and East Sudan. The parties agreed to engage and dialogue with Sudan on all issues, including the ICC-decision.
Ethiopia – Eritrea
IGAD and the EU exchanged views on overall relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea, their roles in the region and the border situation between the two. Noting Security Council resolutions they recalled that the primary responsibility for resolution of the dispute lies with the parties themselves. IGAD and the EU agreed that the normalization of relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea would contribute significantly to stability and development in the Horn of Africa. The EU expressed its readiness to support a peaceful settlement.
Djibouti – Eritrea
IGAD and the EU, noting Security Council resolutions on the matter, accordingly expressed their strong conviction that the differences between Eritrea and Djibouti over the common border should be settled diplomatically and called for urgent steps to be taken in that direction. IGAD recalled the outcome of the IGAD Summit of 14 June 2008 as well as the contents of Security Council resolution 1862.
Both parties agreed to further develop and deepen their contacts and work towards enhanced cooperation.