Eritrea President Isaisis Afwerki has denied involvement in the Islamic resistance movement fighting the US-backed regime in Somalia. The United Nations Security Council recently imposed sanctions against the Horn of Africa nation., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
IGAD supports Kenya's incursion into Somalia, condemns Eritrea
By Roseleen Nzioka
The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has announced its full support for Kenya’s military incursion into Somalia in pursuit of Al Shabaab militia.
Regional leaders gathered at a Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Friday, said they welcomed the joint security operation by Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) and Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces in pursuit of Al Shabaab in South and Central Somalia.
The Heads of State and Government outrightly condemned the Government of Eritrea for its continuing supply of ammunitions to extremist groups such as Al Shabab whose intention they noted, has always been to destabilize the Region.
They said the joint operation was a unique opportunity for the region to consolidate gains made and restore stability and security in Somalia.
In a communique issued at the close of the 19th extra-ordinary session of the IGAD assembly of heads of state and government, the leaders stressed the need for enhanced engagement by IGAD and the AU in galvanizing international support for the on-going operation with a view to building on the momentum created by the joint operation.
The leaders paid tribute to TFG forces, AMISOM and the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) for their continued sacrifices in pursuit of peace and security in Somalia, which they said had resulted in the diminishing of Al Shabaab threats and subsequent consolidation of security in Mogadishu and its environs.
Under the Chairmanship of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the summit was attended by: Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh; Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki; Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia; Salaheldien Wanasi, State Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan; Garang Diing Akuong , Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment of the Republic of South Sudan; Dr Crispus Kiyonga, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Uganda; Eng. Mahboub Maalim, IGAD Executive Secretary; Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the AU; Jerry Rawlings, AU High Representative for Somalia; and Boubacar G. Diarra, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AUC for Somalia. Eritrea which is a member of IGAD was not represented at the meeting.
IGAD called upon the Ethiopian Government to support the Kenyan-TFG and AMISOM operation and asked Kenya to consider the prospects of integrating its forces to AMISOM and to consolidate security and stability in Somalia.
The leaders noted with concern that Kenya continues to carry the heaviest refugee burden, and in this regard called on the international community to urgently develop modalities for burden-sharing, and urged humanitarian aid agencies to relocate to the secure parts of Somalia in order to provide humanitarian assistance to the drought and famine-stricken communities in a more effective manner and stem migration.
The leaders welcomed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) decision to extend for 12 months authorization for those countries cooperating with the TFG to use ‘All Necessary Means’ to Combat Piracy and Armed Robbery (Resolution2020).
They further called upon the international community to respond to its obligations under the 13 UNSC Conventions on Anti-terrorism to tackle the threats to international peace and security in Somalia.
They stressed the need for a comprehensive response to tackle piracy, armed robbery and terrorism and their underlying causes and appreciated the decision of Djibouti to provide troops to AMISOM by the end of the year.
The leaders called on other African countries which have pledged troops to AMISOM to urgently fulfill their pledges to enable AMISOM consolidate security in other regions of Somalia beyond Mogadishu, in particular South-Central Somalia and other liberated areas.