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IGAD joins EU in backing Kiir on Sudan talks

By Aweye Teddy Onam

Leaders from the regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), are fully supporting President Salva Kiir Mayardit in his efforts to convince the warring parties in Sudan to end the ongoing conflict.

This came after Kiir met with the IGAD leaders on Saturday at the sideline of the inaugural Arab-Africa summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and discussed Sudan’s conflict.

Office of the President disclosed in a statement on its official page that President Kiir met with his counterparts from Kenya, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Sudan to chat out a way to resolve the raging war in Sudan.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. James Pitia Morgan, who accompanied Kiir to Riyadh, said the regional leaders gave their full support to President Kiir to continue engaging the Sudanese political and military leaders to find an amicable solution to the seven-month conflict.

“Both President William Samoei Ruto of Kenya, Iaias Afwerki of Eritrea, and Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti expressed their support for President Kiir’s peace efforts in Sudan,” the statement from the president’s office partly reads.

“President Kiir will soon host meetings with the Sudanese political leaders and the current warring parties to review the situation in the country,” it added.

The IGAD leaders’ backing of President Salva Kiir’s effort to mediate peace in neighboring Sudan came as a change of tune from the IGAD mediation process.

Kenyan President Dr. William Ruto leads an IGAD mediation committee, referred to as the Quartet Group.

In June 2023, during the 14th Summit of IGAD held in Djibouti, the Quartet mediation committee on the Sudan conflict was announced, headed by Kenya and deputized by South Sudan, with the membership of Ethiopia and Somalia.

The committee was tasked with mediating an end to Sudan’s war, but Sudan’s government under General al-Burkan rejected Kenya’s spearheading the peace process, accusing President Ruto of supporting the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), allegations he denies.

Last week, the European Union Deputy Head of Delegation in South Sudan, Mr. Lothar Jaschke, said the EU supports South Sudan’s mediation role in the Sudan conflict.

In October 2023, the 14 Sudanese political tracks, who are signatories to the 2020 Juba peace agreement, gave the green light for Salva Kiir’s administration to invite the Sudanese political parties and stakeholders to Juba.

In their communiqué from the two-day meeting, the Juba peace accord signatories agreed for South Sudan to host a grand consultation meeting in preparation for genuine Sudanese peace talks in Juba.

“The meeting was to devise ways to bring the war in Sudan to an end, and unanimously all parties decided that President Kiir must invite Sudanese political parties and civil society groups to Juba as preparation for South Sudan to host Sudan peace talks,” reads the communiqué.

Party signatories to the Juba Peace Agreement held a meeting with President Kiir and said South Sudan was the best choice to bring peace to Sudan.

However, the President Salva Kiir administration is yet to disclose when the Sudanese political stakeholders will converge in Juba to plan how to bring the Sudan warring parties to the negotiating table with the help of Kiir mediation under the IGAD.

The conflict in Sudan began on April 15, 2023, between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Sadly, the conflict has not yet ended, causing numerous people to be displaced and suffer as a result of this ongoing disaster.

According to the U.N. migration agency, more than 4.5 million people were displaced inside Sudan, while over 1.2 million others sought refuge in neighboring countries.

The fighting also left 25 million people, constituting more than half of the country’s population, in need of humanitarian aid, according to the UN.

Since the breakout of the war, the cities of Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North have become battlegrounds, with airstrikes and shelling taking place in densely populated areas.

The recent atrocities in Darfur prompted the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor to declare in July that he was investigating alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the latest fighting in the region.



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