DJIBOUTI – Sudan Armed Forces have accused the Rapid Support Services of procrastination and unwillingness to negotiate and end the ongoing war.
Through a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, the military-led Sudanese government confirmed that the Thursday peace talks in Djibouti had been postponed on Wednesday afternoon, over what IGAD termed as “technical reasons”.
The Ministry said it had received a letter from its Djibouti counterparts, Chairman of the IGAD session, informing that RSF Commander Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo was unable to arrive in Djibouti for the meeting with Gen Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council.
“Coordinating again to hold the meeting next January 2024,” the statement said.
The ministry said Al-Burhan was keen to have the meeting, and was ready to leave for Djibouti on Wednesday until they received the communication.
“…out of his keenness in his capacity as President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Armed Forces [that they] must end the suffering of the Sudanese caused by the militia rebellion, he formally expressed his approval for the IGAD presidency to hold the meeting and was ready to leave for Djibouti this Wednesday evening,” the statement said.
“Reason, and its unwillingness to stop the destruction of Sudan and its people, and this is evident from its failure to attend tomorrow’s meeting”.
On Wednesday, Gen Dagalo met Uganda President Yoweri Museveni in his first publicized trip out of Sudan since the war between RSF and SAF started in April.
In a statement released through his X handle, Dagalo said he gave President Museveni “a detailed explanation” about the reasons for the outbreak of the war, which he said was ignited by the remnants with the help of their leaders in the armed forces”.
“I also presented our vision to negotiate, stop the war, and build the Sudanese state on new, just foundations. President Museveni affirmed his full support for our people and work to advance efforts to achieve peace and stability in Sudan, indicating that he will harness all his capabilities and relationships to help the Sudanese overcome this difficult stage in their history,” Dagalo said.
Expressing his willingness to negotiate, Dagalo said they still adhere to the outcomes of the IGAD Presidents’ Summit in Djibouti, and RSF will continue to implement what they committed to end the war, relieve the suffering of the people, and restore security and stability.
The failure for the Djibouti meeting to proceed in another blow to IGAD’s sustained push to bring the two warring generals to the negotiating table for more than six months now.
In June, at the IGAD Ordinary Summit, a quartet of the leaders of Ethiopia, South Sudan, Djibouti and Kenya, was formed to facilitate direct talks between the two generals.
“We have taken the decision that the Quartet of Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somalia, will, in the next 10 days, meet face to face with General al-Burhan and General Dagalo so that we can speak to them directly on behalf of IGAD so that we stop the raging war,” President William Ruto, who chaired the team, said at a press briefing in Djibouti.
“Kenya commits to meet the two Sudan generals face to face to find a lasting solution to the crisis,” he added.
On July 10, 2023, the Heads of State and Government of the now-disbanded IGAD Quartet Group of Countries met in Addis Ababa for their first meeting to discuss the implementation of the IGAD Roadmap for peace in Sudan without much headway, as key leaders among them IGAD chairman and Djibouti President Omar Guelleh and his deputy and South Sudan President Salva Kiir skipped.
Since then, various attempts have been made through IGAD to no avail.
In September, the second Quartet meeting was held in Nairobi on the sidelines of the Africa Climate Summit, where a call of the centrality of the talks in IGAD AU-backed process was emphasized “under a framework that comprehensively addresses the conflict, humanitarian access and long-term political dialogue to deliver comprehensive and lasting peace”.
While RSF appeared to prefer the IGAD-led process, SAF was more committed to the Jeddah and Egypt peace processes, having rejected Ruto as the lead mediator.
President Ruto, however, met Al-Burhan in Nairobi mid-November, where they ” reviewed the state of ongoing peace initiatives, including the Jeddah and the IGAD peace processes”.
The two leaders agreed work towards the convening an urgent IGAD Summit to accelerate the Jeddah process towards cessation of hostilities in Sudan and agree on a framework for an all-inclusive Sudanese dialogue.
At the 41st Extraordinary Summit, the leaders resolved to establish an IGAD framework comprised of respected diplomatic and political interlocutors, nominated by regional leaders to undertake the mediation efforts in Sudan to succeed the Quartet.
By the time the Quartet was exiting and handing over its report, it had not managed to meet the generals separately as a team let alone organize joint talks.
The new talks are set for January 3, 2024.
Since the war broke out on April 15, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces have claimed 9,000 lives and left thousands more injured as of November.
More than one million people have fled Sudan to neighboring countries, while more than 4.6 million have been displaced inside the country, it says. These numbers have been rising as the violence continues.
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