Somalia: PM attends IGAD Summit on South Sudan

Somali Prime Minister Ali Khaire travelled to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Monday to attend the IGAD summit to discuss the conflict in South Sudan.

He was welcomed at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport by senior Ethiopian and IGAD officials.

The Prime Minister attended the summit in the place of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo who declined to attend the summit.

Sources say the President is preoccupied with the Gulf crisis, the Qatari State Minister of Foreign Affairs met with President Farmajo yesterday and a Saudi delegation is expected to arrive in the following days to present their case.

The President is also facing mounting criticism at home for his frequent trips abroad.

While at the meeting, the PM held side talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who also serves as the IGAD chairperson.

The IGAD summit is focused on the civil war in South Sudan that was worsened in the past few moths. Famine has affected many parts of South Sudan and aid agencies worry that it will spread to other parts of the country.

José Graziano da Silva, director of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recently told a think-tank audience:“We just distributed seeds in South Sudan. And they ate them — all the seeds. And we can’t blame them for that.”

South Sudan has been in near constant conflict since December 2013 when President Kiir, a Dinka and Dr. Machar, a Nuer, failed to uphold a power-sharing agreement.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD, according to Mr. da Silva, “has the political power” to help end the fighting in South Sudan, “But they are divided. Half support one side [in South Sudan’s civil war]; half the other.”

IGAD member countries include: Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan,  and Sudan