(IGAD – Djibouti) A three person mission from the European Commission paid a working visit to the IGAD secretariat on 7 December.
The mission was led Mrs. Henriette Geiger, Deputy Head of Unit DEV E2 of the European Commission, and included Dr. Friedrich Nagel and Mr. Christophe Wagner. The main objective of the mission was to explore with IGAD Secretariat arrangements for the convening of the second technical meeting of the Joint Assessment Mission under the EC Horn of Africa Initiative.
In the meeting with the mission, the IGAD Executive Secretary, Eng. Mahboub Maalim, welcomed the mission and emphasized the importance IGAD attaches to its close and fruitful partnership with the European Commission and recognized the valuable support that the EU provides to IGAD and its member states. The Executive Secretary expressed IGAD’s preparedness and aspiration for consolidating further its partnership with the EC through cooperation on issues of mutual interest to both organizations.
In addition, the Executive Secretary informed the mission that the process of revitalizing IGAD was underway and expressed his anticipation that Eritrea will rejoin the IGAD family.
On her part, Mrs. Henriette Geiger thank the Executive Secretary for the warm welcome and said “This is a historic moment for us because we are starting a new chapter, where in the last June at the IGAD summit the leaders of the Horn of Africa countries and the European Commission agreed on a way forward.”
Mrs. Henriette Geiger reported that in response to multiple and interconnected challenges in the Horn, the EU commission, on October 20, 2006, adopted an integrated regional response strategy titled, “EU Political Partnership for Peace, Security and Development in the Horn of Africa.”
She added: “The strategy’s political objective is to engage the seven Horn countries in a process of dialogue and cooperation that would ultimately facilitate peace and security in the region.”
In September 2008, an IGAD delegation led by the Executive Secretary, Eng. Mahboub Maalim, visited Brussels where EC-IGAD relations were put on a new footing. Closer collaboration on development aspirations of the Horn of Africa region were agreed upon. Also, IGAD will to be fully involved in the convening of the Second Joint Meeting of experts under the Horn of Africa Initiative to be held in March 2009.