Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said the Horn of Africa finds itself in “a very particular situation,” as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African bloc, is experiencing “tough challenges.”
The chairperson of the 55-member pan-African bloc made the remarks during the 38th IGAD Extraordinary Meeting, which brought together east African leaders in the Red Sea nation Djibouti late Sunday.
“In South Sudan, peace and reconciliation continue to call for greater efforts from national stakeholders and the region, to defend the gains made so far so as to ensure much needed peace, security and stability in the country,” Faki told the IGAD Extraordinary Meeting.
In Ethiopia, Faki said, the federal government took bold steps “to preserve the unity, stability and respect for the constitutional order of the country; which is legitimate for all states.”
“It cannot be denied, however, that the crisis in Tigray regional state has provoked large-scale displacement,” he said, as he affirmed that the AU “encourages IGAD to support Ethiopia in addressing the humanitarian dimensions.”
“Particular attention should be paid to refugees and displaced people,” Faki said. “It is necessary to recall the important role that Ethiopia plays in peacekeeping operations in the region, and I hope that these efforts will continue,” he noted.
Weeks of fighting in the Tigray region between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian Defense Forces have reportedly left hundreds of people dead, thousands displaced and millions in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
Recent figures from the United Nations revealed that more than 50,000 people, almost half of them children, have arrived in Sudan since early November.
According to Faki, Sudan, which is undertaking democratic transition for the past year, “continues to face immense political and economic challenges.
Here too, fraternal solidarity is needed now more than ever before.” In Somalia, he said, “despite progress in the fight against terrorism and in strengthening the federal institutions, profound fragilities continue to pose challenges to this country.”