Somalia: Somali Diplomat Named IGAD Spokesman

Somali diplomat Nuur Mohamud Sheekh has been named the spokesperson for the regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad).

Mr Sheekh will be the official spokesman for the Igad Secretary-General Workneh Gebeyehu and the eight-member organisation.

Dr Workneh said in a statement that the decision to appoint Mr Sheekh followed his shown ability to build links between Igad and other organisations as well as "strengthening collaborations" with member governments.

"Nuur's professional career has seen him engage with the full spectrum of policy and practice interventions at sub-national, national and regional levels with leading multilateral organisations," Dr Workneh said on Tuesday, referring to Igad's partners including the African Union, European Union and United Nations.

Mr Sheekh, 51, holds an advanced degree in Conflict and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London. He has been in the diplomatic field for three decades. The brief profile provided by Igad said he has served as a diplomat, mediator, campaigner for refugees and humanitarian worker.

Before his appointment, he worked as Senior Advisor at the Office of the Igad Special Envoy for the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Somalia. The bloc seeks to secure the waters of the Horn from security and environmental threats.

Igad member states are Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. Eritrea suspended itself in 2007 although it is still technically a member.

Launched in 1986 as a regional body mainly focused on drought resilience, Igad morphed in 1996 to tackle general problems of the Horn including conflict and political stability.

Mr Sheekh joined Igad in 2014, having arrived from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre based in Geneva, which promotes permanent solutions for displaced people.

In 2018, he was part of Igad's mediation team for South Sudan and has recently helped establish the Task Force on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Mr Sheekh had worked for various UN agencies between 2014 and 2018 including the refugee agency UNHCR and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

Igad said it was banking on his wide diplomatic networks in the Horn to help make the organisation reachable and communicate better.

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