NAIROBI – Kenya’s National Security Adviser Monica Juma on Tuesday called for more focus by the US on the Sudan and the Horn of Africa region.
In phone call with President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, they reviewed the state of the region and urged the US to focus sharper attention on the evolving trends and dynamics in the Horn of Africa and its neighbourhood.
The ongoing war in Sudan featured in the talks.
“We reviewed the imperative to cohere efforts towards responding to growing humanitarian crises, stopping the war in Sudan, supporting the strengthening of democratic dispensation, the effect of the climate crisis, the commitment of Kenya to the search of peace and security beyond our region and the value of engagement with the Africa climate summit scheduled for September 2023,” Juma said in a tweet.
The call came amid the ongoing war in Sudan, in which attempts by Kenya to mediate through the AU-backed IGAD Quartet process has hit a snag, with the rejection of President William Ruto by the Sudan Armed Forces as the lead mediator.
The Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces it is fighting have received multiple international mediation offers, but none have succeeded in ending or even achieving a ceasefire of the fighting that broke out on April 15.
In a video that was released on Monday, a Sudanese general rejected in threatening tone a Kenyan-led proposal that East African Standby peacekeepers help with humanitarian intervention, which was a recommendation of the IGAD Quartet.
“Leave the East African forces where they are. Bring the Kenyan army … I swear to God, not one of them would make it back,” said Sudanese General Yassir al-Atta, the Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Armed Forces.
He spoke when he inspected the Special Forces of the Corps of Engineers on Sunday, a unit assigned to carry out special operations against the Rapid Support Forces.
SAF accuses Kenya of supporting RSF.
On July 10, US assistant secretary of State for African affairs Molly Phee was expected in Addis Ababa to meet with African leaders and Sudanese civilian parties on how to end the conflict in Sudan.
Juma’s call is seen as her sustained efforts to seek US support to end the crisis, at a time she said global attention is focused on Russia-Ukraine Ukraine war.
On July 10, Juma reiterated that IGAD, as the first responder and in line of the principle of subsidiarity, is deploying efforts to end the conflict in the Sudan, noting that the duty is particularly crucial when the world’s attention is focused on other crises.
“We cannot fail Sudan, and in line with the Quartet decisions today, urge all stakeholders to align and coordinate with the IGAD initiative to build the necessary momentum for Sudan, and by extension, our region,” Juma said.
In October last year when Sullivan called to congratulate Juma on her appointment to the post, the two reaffirmed the close partnership between the United States and Kenya and pledged to deepen their cooperation on regional and global challenges.