H.E. Prime Minister Dr Abdalla Hamdok,
Excellencies, fellow Heads of States and Governments, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour and a privilege to participate in the 36th Assembly of IGAD Heads of State and Government virtual meeting today.
Thank you Dr Hamdok for organizing to conduct this meeting.
This is a testament to our collective commitment to secure a progressive and prosperous IGAD community that brings us all together at a truly difficult time of health pandemic.
In this regard, it is timely that we update each other on how we are getting on in the fight to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic across the IGAD family of nations, assess and reflect on the crucial South Sudan Peace Process.
On the South Sudan Peace Process, I would like to recognize the efforts of all the Parties of working towards political reconciliation and the strengthening of security cooperation.
I also welcome the ongoing process of integrating and rebuilding of inclusive civil and security institutions which will benefit our brotherly South Sudanese people.
The Somali Federal Government congratulates President Salva Kiir on the appointment of his inclusive Cabinet that will now be tasked with taking South Sudan Forward.
Somalia also welcomes the Permanent Ceasefire that has continued to hold between the signatories of the revitalized agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) and this is a clear signal of the Parties’ continuing commitment to it.
However, serious external challenges have presented themselves which require the peace process to be accelerated.
Like any other member states, Covid-19 has hurt the South Sudanese people and economy. Now, more than ever, we need to make the connection between peace, security and the resilience needed to mitigate and combat the Covid-19 pandemic in our region.
Peace and Progress are built on understanding and compromise and sustained through inclusive governance and economic development.
Our experience in Somalia is that rebuilding from conflict requires patience and perseverance.
The Government of South Sudan and all stakeholders in the peace process must re-double efforts to ensure the stability and sustainable development of South Sudan for the benefit of its wonderful brotherly people and for regional stability and prosperity. Despite the challenges ahead, the Government and People of South Sudan can be confident that in their hour of need, all IGAD member states stand ready to assist in whatever way possible.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Covid-19 situation in Somalia is now stable and we have learnt practically that prevention is better than cure.
The Somali Government continues mass testing of citizens for Covid-19 in specialized centres and, as we slowly continue opening up the country, much investment has been made in providing public health information and basic public services.
The health and wellbeing of our people remains utmost. However, despite all efforts, we still require support with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the construction of more test centres and health facilities across the country.
On the economic front, stark challenges remain as trade and economic activities have sharply fallen.
Continentally and regionally, the economic outlook for 2020 and beyond looks uncertain.
In Somalia, we are working with the International Financial Institutions and other valuable development partners on a range of measures including budget support to mitigate the harsh economic impact of Covid-19.
The IGAD wide economic challenge is one that we must all assess and learn vital lessons from as we seek to enhance regional economic collaboration going forward.
To ensure that the IGAD Secretariat is well prepared for the Post Covid-19 reconstruction and recovery we must expedite the agreed Institutional reforms and re-structuring of IGAD in line with our earlier agreement. This is a crucial priority that we must see through to ensure the effective operation of our organisation and to strengthen it to respond to the serious regional socio-economic and security challenges ahead.
………………………………I thank you all…………………………
Delivered on 14th July, 2020, by H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed during the 36th Assembly of IGAD Heads of States and Governments virtual meeting Mogadishu, Somalia.