Communique of the 967th meeting of the PSC held on 26 November 2020, on the situation in the Horn of Africa: How best to support the transitions in Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.

Noting the opening remarks made by the Permanent Representative of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for November 2020, H.E Ambassador Tesfaye Yilma, as well as the statement by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, H.E. Ambassador Smail Chergui; and also noting the briefings made by the Chairperson of the AU High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan and South Sudan, H.E. Former President Thabo Mbeki and Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Parfait Onanga Anyanga; and further noting the statements made by the representatives of Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and the European Union;

Recalling its previous decisions and pronouncements on the situation in Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan, as well as on the Horn of Africa, particularly Communique [PSC/PR/COMM. (CMXLIX)] adopted at it 949th meeting held on 24 September 2020; Communique [PSC/PR/COMM. (CMXLV)] adopted at its 945th meeting held on 15 September 2020; and Communique [PSC/PR/COMM. (CMLII)] adopted at its 952nd meeting held on 6 October 2020; as well as Communique [PSC/PR/COMM.(DCCCXI)] adopted at its 811th meeting held on 22 November 2018;

Acknowledging the role of the AUHIP and the important milestones achieved to date in the implementation of its mandate; and also acknowledging the complementary role of the IGAD, other relevant Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), the AU and the UN towards promoting peace, security and stability in the region, as well as the continued support of all relevant AU partners, in this regard;

Mindful of the need to seize the unique window of opportunity created by the prevailing positive political developments in the Horn of Africa region to attain durable peace, security and stability, as well as to facilitate regional integration and general wellbeing of the people of the region; and

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council:

1. Welcomes the positive political developments marked by the resumption of political dialogue between the Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal Member States, including the recent Dhusamareeb consultations, which, among others resulted in the agreement on the Electoral Model for the 2020/21 national elections; underscores to importance of implementing the Electoral Model in its letter and spirit, in order to create the enabling environment for the successful organization of credible elections and, to this end, requests the AU Commission to continue mobilizing all required support to the Federal Government of Somalia;

2. Also welcomes progress registered, to date, in the implementation of the 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), including the relative peace and stability prevailing in the country and commends the leadership of the country for prioritizing the supreme interests of their country above all else; and encourages them to expedite the implementation of the outstanding aspects of the Revitalized Agreement, including the establishment of the Reconstituted National Assembly; appointment of remaining State Governor and putting in place appropriate transitional justice and national reconciliation mechanisms; also encourages the South Sudan stakeholders to address any difference through dialogue; and in this context, calls on the hold out groups to join the peace process without further delays and to ensure respect to the ceasefire;

3. Notes with satisfaction the progress recorded to date in the ongoing political transition in Sudan, as well as the evolving peace prevailing in the country since the signing of a Peace Agreement, on 3 October 2020, in Juba, South Sudan; in this regard, commends the Sudanese stakeholders and encourages them to persevere and commit to fully implement the Constitutional Declaration of 2019, the Juba Peace Agreement and the National Civilian Protection Plan; urges all hold out movements to cease hostilities and embrace the ongoing peace process;

4. Re-affirms the AU’s solidarity and unwavering commitment to respecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity of Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan; condemns in the strongest terms all foreign interferences in their internal affairs; and underscores the importance of national ownership of the political processes so that they reflect the specificities of each of these countries;

5. Underlines the need for enhanced and coordinated international support to the efforts of the Governments of Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan to reform and rebuild state institutions processes, economy recovery, as well as to create conducive conditions and incentives that will encourage and facilitate the safe and voluntary return of internally displaced persons and repatriation of refugees back to their communities of origin; calls on international and regional partners to support these efforts to ensure that the positive momentum is sustained;

6. Appeals to all concerned members of the international community to immediately lift all sanctions and other punitive measures imposed against Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan, in order to facilitate the necessary enabling environment for smooth and successful transition process;

7. Acknowledges the critical role that women and the youth continue to play in advancing social cohesion and promoting lasting peace, security and stability in the Horn of Africa; and, in this regard, underscores the importance of ensuring effective and more meaningful participation of women and youth in the decision making processes, particularly, in the current political processes;

8. Expresses appreciation to all members of the AUHIP, in particular the Chairperson of the AUIHP, former President Thabo Mbeki, for the efforts exerted in discharging their mandate in the Horn of Africa; re-affirms its continued support to the Panel and looks forward to receiving, as soon as possible, due reports of the Panel; in this connection;