NAIROBI – Ramtane Lamamra, the Special Envoy of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the Sudan, on Monday held talks with President William Ruto as part of the new push by the UN to broker a peace deal in Khartoum.
President Ruto said they exchanged views with Lamamra on the situation in Sudan and the region, and welcomed Guterres’ commitment to support the IGAD initiative seeking to resolve the war – conflict in Sudan.
“The end of the war is good for Sudan, the Sudanese people, our region, and international peace and security. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development member states continue to play a critical role in efforts to end the conflict in Sudan. Kenya, too, remains ready to make a contribution in ending the war, restoring peace, forging inclusive governance, and protecting the integrity of Sudan,” President Ruto said.
The UN envoy also held talks with Ruto’s National Security Adviser Monica Juma on strengthening diplomatic efforts on peacemaking in Sudan.
Juma is a former Foreign Affairs minister.
The meetings in Nairobi are part of Lamamra’s concerted efforts in his first tour as personal envoy of the UN Secretary General for Sudan to refocus the peace talks following the stalling of the IGAD AU-led peace process.
In his mission, he is seeking to strengthen UN partnership with regional organizations and stakeholders engaged in peace making in Sudan.
In this regard, he has also held talks with AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki, IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu and Arab League Secretary General Ahmad Abu ElGhei.
He has also met the Sudan junta leader Gen Abdel al-Burhan, Deputy Chairman of the Sovereign Council Malik Agar and Foreign Minister Ali Al-Sadiq.
The Algerian was appointed on November 21, 2023, with Guterres tapping into his experience in diplomacy, international organisations and mediation.
Lamamra has worked in different capacities in Algeria, serving as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and as Minister of State and Diplomatic Adviser to the President.
Between 2008 and 2013, he served as the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security.
Since 2017, Lamamra has been a member of the High-Level Advisory Board of the United Nations Secretary-General on Mediation and between 2018 and 2021, served as a member of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan, South Sudan and the Horn of Africa.
As a career diplomat, he served as Ambassador of Algeria to Portugal, the US, Austria, Ethiopia and Djibouti, as well as Permanent Representative of Algeria to the UN.
Terming him as a man known for his outstanding diplomatic skills, former IGAD spokesperson Nuur Mohamud Sheekh said Lamamra is playing a crucial role in complementing the regional initiative addressing the Sudan situation.
“Such a collaborative approach is important for sustainable peace in the Republic of Sudan,” he said.
A Horn of Africa affairs analyst who has been involved in the peace efforts notes that given the internationalisation of the Sudan conflict, the UN has an important role to play in its resolution.
“It is important to work collaboratively with the UN. They have certain comparative advantages that they bring,” he opined.
The respective allies to Sudan Armed Forces led by Al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by Lt Gen Hamdan Dagalo, particularly from the Middle East, have been accused of fueling the war.
In April 2023, the AU Peace and Security Council warned against external interference in the crisis and demanded the warring parties to “swiftly embrace a peaceful solution and inclusive dialogue.”
“The council strongly rejects any external interference that could complicate the situation in Sudan,” it said in a statement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In July 2023, the IGAD Quartet on Sudan led by President Ruto regretted that the escalation of the crisis was being driven by external interference, which it said was prolonging and exacerbating the conflict.
In May 2023, Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, had said that, despite the Union’s mediation efforts, the acute fragmentation among the Sudanese political and military actors and the multiplicity of external interference undermined the transition, which then led to the stalemate resulting in the coup of 25 October 2021.
Guterres hopes this experience will help bring an end to the war that broke out in April 2023 between SAF and RSF.
As of December 15, 2023, UN says more than 6.7 million people – almost one in every seven people in the country – have fled their homes since the war started and have sought refuge within Sudan or in neighbouring countries.
According to the International Organization for Migration Displacement Tracking Matrix, more than 5.4 million people have been displaced by fighting within Sudan and have sought refuge in 5,939 locations across all 18 states.
More than 12,190 have been killed.