DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti, Aug. 2 (UPI) — An authority from the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development said Eritrea’s decision to rejoin the regional bloc was a bold and welcome step.
Eritrea pulled out of IGAD in 2007 after member states Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan backed an Ethiopian intervention to drive al-Qaida’s affiliate al-Shabaab out of the Somali capital Mogadishu.
The African country cut ties with most aid agencies and has shrugged off claims of a drought-fueled humanitarian disaster unfolding in the Horn of Africa.
IGAD Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim said in a letter to Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh that the decision to rejoin the security body was a welcome move.
“I am confident that the IGAD member states, the IGAD development partners and all IGAD stakeholders will be delighted to see Eritrea back in the IGAD family fold,” he was quoted by the BBC as saying.
U.S. lawmakers had called for increased diplomatic pressure on Eritrea, a supporter of al-Shabaab.
Eritrea, however, may have moved to rejoin IGAD to give it more leverage when confronting external diplomatic pressure, the BBC adds.