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Ruto to lead Al-Burhan, Dagalo face-to-face talks

By William Madouk

Kenya’s president, William Ruto, will lead three other leaders of East African countries under the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to engage two Sudanese generals in face-to-face talks.

An ordinary summit of the regional bloc in Djibouti, reached the decision and selected four countries—Kenya as chair, South Sudan, Somalia, and Djibouti as members—for expanded Sudan peace committee.

Djibouti’s president, Ismael Omer Guelleh, will now be chair of the IGAD summit after Sudan’s term comes to an end, deputized by South Sudan.

President Ruto said during a press briefing in Djibouti on Monday, that “We have taken the decision that the quartet of Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Somalia will, in the next ten days, meet face-to-face with General Al-Burhan and General Dagalo… so that we can speak to them directly on behalf of IGAD, with the view of stopping the war that is raging.”

“Kenya commits to meet the two Sudanese generals face-to-face to find a lasting solution to the crisis,” he added.

The regional bloc’s move could revive a void left a week ago after Jeddah Talks were suspended, with mediators accusing parties of lacking political will.

Violence erupted on April 15 between Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, leader of the Sudanese army, and his opponent, Mohamed Dagalo, or Hemedti, the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

The clash has led to more than 1,200 deaths, 800,000 displacements, and serious property destruction. The sides have signed seven ceasefire deals, all of which were broken within hours of declaration.

The latest ceasefire on Monday was also broken, according to mediators in the Jeddah Talks, facilitated by Saudi Arabia and the US, even though there was less reported fighting this time.

President Ruto said part of the direct talks with the Sudanese generals will be on reopening a reliable humanitarian corridor.

“But IGAD will want a permanent cessation of hostilities to allow the country to hold discussions on how to reform their governance,” Ruto said.

“We have also agreed that in the next three weeks, we will also begin the process of an inclusive national dialogue to give the people of Sudan the opportunity to discuss, in their diversity, the issues in their country. The generals will also have the opportunity to send representatives,” he added.

However, the IGAD may be met with the old problem in Sudan: persistent violations of peace deals signed by representatives of the two sides.

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