CDA Fernandez Remarks for the IGAD Ordinary Summit in Djibouti

CDA Fernandez Remarks for the IGAD Ordinary Summit in Djibouti

Monday, June 12, 2023, 10:00 

Djibouti Kempinski Hotel

As Charge d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti, I welcome the opportunity to observe the open session of IGAD’s 14th Ordinary Summit.  From my time serving in Kenya, I have seen the positive outcomes from IGAD’s leadership and influence in Eastern Africa.  The United States is committed to our shared priorities of peace and security in the region.  Leadership in the Department of State, from Secretary Blinken to Assistant Secretary Phee and others, continue to collaborate with Dr. Workneh and other regional leaders to express unwavering support for our shared priorities of regional economic integration, security, and stability.

We recognize and welcome the role of IGAD, alongside the AU and UN – collectively known as the Trilateral Mechanism – in efforts to restore Sudan’s democratic transition and now, to respond to the ongoing conflict.  We look forward to continued partnership with IGAD under the AU expanded mechanism to press for a ceasefire, humanitarian access and the resumption of an inclusive political, process.   We remain committed to coordination with IGAD as we pursue efforts in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to engage delegations from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on establishing a ceasefire and humanitarian arrangements and look forward to hearing more on IGAD efforts.

Ambassador Michael Hammer, our Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, sends his regrets as he was unable to join, but wanted me to share his admiration for the important role IGAD played, and to Dr. Workneh personally, as a fellow observer to the Pretoria talks last November, which led to the Cessation of Hostilities agreement in Northern Ethiopia.  We all know there is more work to be done to consolidate the peace, but IGAD’s role in Ethiopia was pivotal, and the United States remains committed to being a strong partner.

I welcome the opportunity to join today’s open session and hear perspectives from IGAD Heads of State.  I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the regional issues related to peace and security, and natural disaster and humanitarian efforts.  The drought and famine conditions across the region, threatening livelihoods, livestock, food security, and health conditions remain paramount concerns for us all.

Today’s ordinary summit draws the most influential voices in the region to address common, pressing challenges.  The U.S. government is committed to promoting security and stability in Eastern Africa and to promoting the means for all to achieve prosperity through development, education, and research efforts.  We see the valuable and important voice that IGAD provides to advance regional priorities, and we continue to welcome partnership opportunities.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to express my appreciation, once again, for the invitation to this most critical discussion.  I am privileged to represent the United States today.