Minister Coveney meets with African Union & IGAD6/11/17
Minister Coveney announces support to the South Sudan peace process and African Union reform efforts
The Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., met today in Addis Ababa with leaders from the African Union and from IGAD [the Horn of Africa regional organisation] to discuss Ireland’s support for resolving conflicts in the Horn of Africa and strengthening the African Union’s conflict prevention, mediation and peacekeeping capacity.
One of the challenges facing the Horn of Africa today is the crisis in South Sudan. The conflict which began in 2013 has resulted in the displacement of 4 million people, with 2 million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda and Ethiopia. Half the population are suffering from alarming levels of acute hunger and malnutrition. A peace agreement reached in 2015 has not been implemented. At a meeting with IGAD’s Special Envoy for South Sudan, Ambassador Ismail Wais, Minister Coveney committed Ireland’s support for IGAD’s efforts to agree a comprehensive ceasefire and revive the peace process.
Minister Coveney said,
“Ireland put its full support behind South Sudan as the newest member of the global family at independence in 2011. It is devastating to see the death, displacement, human rights abuses and human misery that has dominated South Sudan’s first years as an independent state. We know that this is largely a man-made conflict. We can – and we will – keep giving humanitarian aid to save lives but the only way we can move towards supporting long term sustainable development in South Sudan is though a comprehensive political solution. The international community can support this but the solution must come from within the region. Ireland fully supports IGAD’s efforts to get the parties to the table to agree a ceasefire and a timetable for the implementation of the ceasefire and will provide €200,000 to support IGAD’s work.”
Minister Coveney also met with the acting Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Smail Chergui. Speaking after their meeting, Minister Coveney said,
“Ireland has long called for increased African presence on global decision-making bodies, including the UN Security Council and increased African ownership of the political solutions that are needed to deal with insecurity, humanitarian crises and human rights abuses in the continent. I agreed today with Commissioner Samate Cessouma that Ireland will support the African Union’s reform efforts, which will position African states to strengthen regional peacekeeping and conflict prevention, mediation, human rights and democratisation processes and develop stronger influence internationally on issues that affect their populations. In addition to financial support of €300,000 for 2018, I have assured African Union leaders that we are ready to share Ireland’s experiences in conflict resolution and mediation and will continue to champion the need to correct the historic imbalance with respect to African membership on the UN Security Council.”
06 November 2017
Note to Editors
- IGAD was created in 1996. Its member states are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. The region is characterised by political instability (three of member states appear in the top 5 in the Index of Fragile States). IGAD’s vision is to achieve peace and sustainable development in the region by promoting regional cooperation and integration focused on peace, security and prosperity. IGAD is leading a process to revitalise the 2015 South Sudan peace agreement, including a comprehensive ceasefire and a timetable for political reform.
- The African Union (AU) was created in 2002. Its work on peace and security, including leading peace keeping operations in a number of African states such as AMISOM in Somalia, and its growing presence in electoral and human rights observation, mediation and norm-setting in respect of constitutional, governance and democratisation issues, means that it is a vital partner both of the UN and of the EU.
- Ireland will provide €200,000 to IGAD in 2018 for its work to revitalise the peace agreement in South Sudan and €300,000 to the African Union to support its reform agenda and strengthen its capacity in peacekeeping, conflict prevention, mediation, democratisation and human rights.