CAIRO – The progress of the Igad Quartet mediation track led by Kenya’s President William Ruto hangs in the balance after Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan on Tuesday backed the Egypt-led process.
On Tuesday, Burhan held talks with Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in the coastal town of El Alamein and discussed efforts to end the conflict in Sudan in a way that preserves “the sovereignty, integrity of Sudanese state”.
“The Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council welcomed this [Egypt’s] track, the first summit of which was held recently in Egypt,” a statement released by the Egyptian Presidency said.
The two leaders, the statement added, discussed ways of cooperation and coordination to support the humanitarian aid and relief.
This was Burhan’s first international travel since the conflict broke out with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces on April 15.
As the Igad Quarted process of Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Djibouti got into headsway after Burhan rejected Ruto’s leadership, Egypt offered to mediate in a series of international efforts to prevent a prolonged civil war and the deepening of a humanitarian crisis.
The Al Burhan camp has rejected Ruto’s chairship of the IGAD Quartet, saying he assumed the position without their acceptance. They also accuse him of close ties with Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo who heads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
On July 13, Egypt hosted using a summit of neighbouring states revamp efforts to contain the war.
The leaders of Sudan’s seven neighbours in a joint statement called on the warring parties to commit to a ceasefire, appealed to regional states not to interfere in the conflict, and agreed to facilitate delivery of aid, Reuters reported.
Leaders of Ethiopia, South Sudan, Chad, Eritrea, the Central African Republic and Libya attended.
However, RSF and Sudan’s army did not appear at the summit, although Sudan’s ruling council said it welcomed the outcomes and that the army was ready to stop fighting if the RSF halted attacks on civilian and government sites, and stopped blocking roads.
Three days earlier, President Ruto had chaired the inaugural Igad Quartet Heads of State meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which Burhan and other regional leaders, including those on the team, didn’t attend, although the RSF sent a representative.
Reacting to this, IGAD in the communique emphasized on the centrality of IGAD in coordinating the different diplomatic tracks alongside the African Union to harmonize all efforts in a coordinated and collaborative framework to deliver a real and lasting peace deal.
During Tuesday’s talks, President Al Sisi also stressed Egypt’s firm position to stand by Sudan and support its security, stability, unity and territorial integrity.
On his part, Burhan, the statement said, appreciated Egypt’s support for preserving the safety and stability of Sudan, as well as its “active role in the region and Africa”.