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30 November 2020 (DJIBOUTI, Djibouti): The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, received the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, HE Sahle-Work Zewde, at the Headquarters of the regional organisation in Djibouti today.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Djibouti, HE Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, and the Minister of Transport of Ethiopia, HE Mrs Dagmawit Moges, were in attendance as well as the Ambassador of Ethiopia to Djibouti and the Ambassador of Djibouti to Ethiopia.

The President took the opportunity of her two-day official visit to Djibouti to tour the IGAD premises and meet with staff there.

Dr Workneh welcomed her and said he was honoured to be receiving President Sahle-Work Zewde at the regional bloc headquarters. ‘I am delighted along with my colleagues to be listening to your wisdom during this short ceremony at our conference hall’, he said as he invited her to address IGAD staff. He later expressed his appreciation of the encouragement words the President had for his one year at post at the head of IGAD.

President Sahle-Work in her short address to IGAD staff did a brief flashback of how the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD) was turned into the current Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) following a revitalisation process that pushed member countries to expand the organisation’s mandate.

‘IGAD has come a long thanks to the tireless efforts of its member states and staff’, she said. She stressed the need to have a strong regional organisation to be the first respondent to regional issues, before adding that IGAD had played its role in this respect.

An organisation can only be what its member countries want it to be. The onus is on us, member states, to really give IGAD the means to be like others such ECOWAS, SADC and so on’, she said. The President committed her country’s support to the organisation before congratulating it for the job done in the fight against COVID-19.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Djibouti conducted a vote of thanks during which he thanked President Sahle-Work Zewde for being in Djibouti and visiting IGAD headquarters. He reminded the audience that Dr Workneh was working on reforming IGAD as he had started with his 100-day-plan. ‘IGAD should be the strongest vehicle for regional integration. This organisation under the leadership of Dr Workneh and the support of member states has a bright future’, he concluded.

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