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IGAD calls on Sudanese government to establish Legislative Council

December 22 - 2020 DJIBOUTI / KHARTOUM
Opening session of the IGAD project to develope a strategy to counter violent extremism in Eastern Africa, Khartoum, 4 September 2016 (UNDP)
Opening session of the IGAD project to develope a strategy to counter violent extremism in Eastern Africa, Khartoum, 4 September 2016 (UNDP)

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) called on all Sudanese parties to fully implement the Juba Peace Agreement and form the long-awaited Legislative Council in their final statement at the IGAD’s thirty-eighth summit this Sunday in Djibouti. 

IGAD logo (IGAD)

The different heads of state of the IGAD countries, a grouping of seven East African countries, met in Djibouti for the summit on Sunday, which was chaired by Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

The summit stressed the importance of prioritising stability and unity in Ethiopia and welcomed Ethiopia's permission for humanitarian aid organisations to reach the Tigray region. The summit also sought to reduce diplomatic tension between Somalia and Kenya.

The IGAD leaders also discussed the slow implementation of th Sudan peace agreement. Recently, the announcement of the formation of the Transitional Partners Council (TPC) and the postponement of the formation of the Legislative Council have caused widespread criticism within Sudan.

Last week, Hafiz Ismail, economist and political analyst, explained in an interview with Radio Dabanga that “the Partners Council is not be supposed to take over the role of the Sovereign Council but [according to El Burhan’s current plans] it seems that it will have more power”.

Its effective power will depend on the terms of reference “but it is expected that a conflict with the Council of Ministers over its exact mandate, and over the establishment of the Legislative Council, will occur in the near future.”

The formation of this Legislative Council has been postponed multiple times, the last time to December 31 this year. 

“The formation is long overdue”, Ismail states. “We still do not know when it is exactly going to happen”. At the moment, there are many forces benefiting from the absence of a parliament

Earlier this month, the Sudanese Communist Party demanded the acceleration of the formation of the Legislative Council as an absolute necessity with the consensus of all the forces of the revolution.

In their final statement yesterday, the IGAD also congratulated the government and people of Sudan on being removed from the USA State Sponsors of Terrorism list as this move enables Sudan to obtain development loans from international financing institutions and debt relief, which will help pave the way for economic recovery.

Sudan-Ethiopia border issues

The Foreign Minister and the Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism said in a joint press conference at Khartoum Airport after their return from Djibouti that the summit did not discuss problems related to the border between Sudan and Ethiopia. 

Instead, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed, discussed these issues during a private meeting. The two leaders also decided to hold a joint border committee meeting that is set to take place Today.

The Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism, Feisal Mohamed Saleh, confirmed that an Ethiopian delegation will come to Khartoum to participate in the joint border committee meeting.

Earlier this month, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) regained control of the area of Khor Yabis in El Fashaga El Sughra, eastern El Gedaref, after the area had been occupied by Ethiopian gunmen (called shifta in the region) for over 25 years.

Radio Dabanga Arabic reported earlier this month that the El Fashaga Lands Committee claims that 90 per cent of the lands in the border area of El Fashaga El Sughra was occupied for years by the shifta, who cultivated the land together with Ethiopian farmers.

The shifta regularly conduct violent cross-border raids to steal crops and livestock or kidnap people for ransom.

Last week, multiple members of the Sudanese army were killed or wounded in various attacks and ambushes by Ethiopian militiamen and another attack took place earlier this month.

Just over 50,000 Ethiopians have fled to Sudan to date due to the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia’s restive Tigray region. Many are in immediate need of medical care and other aid. “The needs are overwhelming,” said Andrew Mbogori, UNHCR’s Principal Emergency Coordinator in Sudan, “the Hamdayet transit centre which was originally built to house hundreds, now has thousands living there”.


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