The Sudan government has rejected the replacement of South Sudan President Salva Kiir as head of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development mediation team on the Sudanese conflict by Kenya’s President William Ruto..
Through a statement by Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, the Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan military-led government said expressed objection to a number of paragraphs that were mentioned in the draft final statement of the IGAD summit due to the fact that they were not discussed and agreed upon, and the delegation called on the IGAD Secretariat to delete them.
“These paragraphs relate to changing the presidency of the IGAD Committee, as the delegation demanded that the chairman be retained as Salva Kiir Mayardit to chair the committee and demanded the deletion of any reference to the subject of mediation,” the statement said.
The Communique of the 14 Ordinary Summit of IGAD Heads of State and Government said the leaders had adopted the roadmap for the resolution of the conflict in Sudan in which Ethiopia was added as the fourth member of the IGAD High-Level Delegation for the Peace Process in Sudan; and for President Ruto to chair the quartet countries of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan. The team was mandated to work in close coordination with the African Union Commission.
تود وزارة خارجية جمهورية السودان أن تفيد بأن وفد السودان المشارك في قمة الإيقاد، المنعقدة في ١٢ يونيو ٢٠٢٣ بجيبوتي، قد أبدى عدم موافقته واعتراضه على عدد من الفقرات التي وردت في مسودة البيان الختامي للقمة نظراً لعدم مناقشتها والاتفاق عليها، وطالب الوفد سكرتارية الإيقاد بحذفها. pic.twitter.com/gzAeWmeQBj
— وزارة خارجية جمهورية السودان ???????? (@MofaSudan) June 13, 2023
President Kiir has been the lead mediator in the process.
Among the Quartet’s immediate tasks, which President Ruto took in earnest, was to arrange face-to-face meeting between Gen. Al-Burhan and his warring partner Gen. Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo of the Rapid Support Forces in one of the regional capitals in 10 days.
The other two were to secure a commitment from the leadership of Sudan Armed Forces and RSF to establish a humanitarian corridor in two weeks and initiate an inclusive political process towards a political settlement of the conflict in Sudan in three weeks.
However, with the developments and the limited timelines, the objectives risk not being attained, even as the fighting in Khartoum rages.
President Ruto has been vocal about the conflict that erupted on April 15, 2023, warning that the war could spill over to the already unstable Horn of Africa region.
A week into the fighting on April 21, Ruto offered to host talks between the warring sides to help restore peace in the country.
“We make this offer in the spirit of brotherhood, peace and solidarity as an acceptable neutral venue and also as an engaged stakeholder well-seized with the challenges facing our region,” Ruto said in a statement, adding that a peacefully negotiated solution to the conflict is within reach and that Kenya stood ready to make its contribution.
On May 1, President Ruto convened a virtual meeting with the heads of the UN agencies partners and regional leaders to mount a response to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Sudan.
The meeting, which was attended by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed, AU Commission chair Moussa Faki and former Sudan PM Abdallah Hamdok, resolved to find ways to provide humanitarian support to the Sudanese “with or without a ceasefire”.
“The humanitarian crisis in Sudan has reached catastrophic levels. The protagonists have declined to heed the calls by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, the African Union and the international community to cease fire,”the President said.
“Consequently, water, food and medicines are in short supply. Internally, the number of displaced people keeps rising as many more flee to neighboring countries,” he added.
His recent pronouncements and tone might, however, have caused friction with Khartoum.
Speaking on Wednesday May 17 in South Africa during the Pan-African Parliamentarian Summit, President Ruto said, “We need to tell those generals to stop the nonsense”:
“As it is, we have no capacity to stop this nonsense [conflict] in our own continent. We need to rethink the Peace and Security Committee,” he said.
His Trade and Investments Minister Moses Kuria also made controversial remarks, calling for the bombing of “Khartoum to smithereens” if Sudan’s warring generals refuse to stop the war.
“The community of nations should militarily invade any country where armies overthrow government. Appeasement does not pay off … Military juntas do not become democrats simply because of the false principle of non-interference. The AU can marshal a strong enough army to bomb Khartoum to smithereens,” Kuria tweeted, a post that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kenya disowned.
Principal Secretary Dr Korir Sing’Oei said Kuria’s personal views do not represent government policy on the “complex and challenging issue”.
“We continue to work with all parties towards a peaceful resolution of the Sudan crisis,” PS Sing’oei said.
On April 24, Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Alfred Mutua during a visit to the US accused Russia and some Gulf countries of taking sides in Sudan’s conflict.
“It is quite tragic that we have more bullets coming into Sudan or being used in Sudan than food. And it’s a tragedy, because we see from where we sit a lot of international interference, a lot of other players trying to use Sudan as a playing field for whatever reason, for the gold in Sudan, for territorial strength and control of the region,” Dr Mutua said at a joint briefing with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Washington DC, a position that was interpreted in some quarters as undiplomatic.