Leaders of the East African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), are set to convene in Uganda next week to address the deepening diplomatic rift between Ethiopia and Somalia.
Djibouti’s President, Ismail Omar Guelleh, the current chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), conveyed this announcement on Thursday through a letter to the bloc’s member states. The talks, also expected to involve the African Union and international partners, will encompass discussions on the ongoing conflict in Sudan.
Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war since a power struggle between the army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) triggered a conflict in April last year. Igad has been at the forefront of regional efforts to facilitate a ceasefire between the conflicting parties.
The diplomatic standoff between Ethiopia and Somalia stems from Ethiopia’s recent signing of a sea access deal with Somaliland, a self-declared independent state within Somalia that lacks international recognition. Somalia has condemned the agreement as a violation of its sovereignty and pledged to challenge it through “any legal means.”
International bodies, including the African Union, have urged dialogue amid concerns that the Ethiopia-Somaliland deal could further escalate tensions in the Horn of Africa region. The emergency Igad meeting is anticipated to address these issues and seek diplomatic resolutions to alleviate regional strains.