NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4- The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has called on the international community to intensify efforts aimed at stabilising the long term development of Somalia to complement efforts for the safe repatriation of Somali refugees.
Through a communiqué, the African leaders urged the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to develop modalities for the repatriation of the refugees with definite timelines.
IGAD Chairman Hailemariam Desalegn, President Uhuru Kenyatta, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia, Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and representatives from the Sudan and Djibouti were all present during the one day 21st IGAD extraordinary summit.
Western countries have in the past spoken against repatriating the refugees before the war torn country stabilises.
The African leaders however stressed the need to include a framework for the gradual return of Somali immigrants underscoring the need to fight Al Shabaab, which remains a big threat to ensuring peace in Somalia.
The heads of state also noted the need expand the operations of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the troops enhancing peace in country to ensure that they recover the areas under the control of Al Shabaab.
The IGAD leaders further condemned the recent escalation of violence against civilians in Mogadishu saying the National Stabilisation Plan was welcome.
The heads of state further commended the ongoing engagements of the Somali Federal Government with the region’s countries noting the need to set up regional administration units in Somalia.
They also called for a commitment by all stakeholders to support the ongoing political outreach and reconciliation processes led by the Somali administration.
The leaders further singled out the need to build the capacity of the Federal Government on governance, economic development and security sector reform.
The leaders underlined the speedy implementation of the Integration of Forces Plan including the enrolment and training of young officers.