Sudan suspends membership in IGAD

By William Madouk


Sudanese government, amidst the chaos of war, has notified the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) that it is temporarily ceasing its involvement in the East Africa bloc.

The foreign ministry, loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, announced this on Saturday.

“An official letter to H.E. Mr. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti and Chairperson of IGAD, communicating the decision of the Government of Sudan to suspend Sudan’s membership in the organization,” partly reads the statement.

Sudan’s foreign ministry said a clause was placed on the agenda without Sudan’s approval, which led it to the further step of suspending its membership.

“Furthermore, the Summit’s Final Communique contained clauses that infringe on Sudan’s sovereignty and injure the feelings of the victims of atrocities committed by the rebel militia and their families,” it added.

“The letter clarified that the Government of Sudan is, therefore, not obligated by and not concerned with any decisions issued by IGAD on Sudanese affairs.”

Khartoum had previously stated that it would suspend its ties with IGAD because they invited paramilitary leader Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who has been in conflict with Burhan for nine months, to a summit in Uganda to discuss the Sudan conflict.

At its summit on Thursday, IGAD reiterated its call for “an immediate and unconditional ceasefire” in the “unjust war affecting the people” of Sudan.

The bloc also expressed “continued readiness to offer its good offices to facilitate an all-inclusive peace process” and again called for a face-to-face meeting between the two sides.

In a final communiqué from the extraordinary assembly, the generals were given two weeks to meet.

Both sides have been accused of war crimes, including the indiscriminate shelling of residential areas, torture, and arbitrary detention of civilians.

The RSF has also been accused of ethnically motivated mass killings, rampant looting, and rapes.

IGAD, in parallel with the United States and Saudi Arabia, has repeatedly attempted to mediate between the two warring generals, but to no avail.

Daglo toured several African capitals in late December, his first foreign trip since the start of the war in April. It is part of a strategy analysts see as a bid for international legitimacy and is likely linked to the United Arab Emirates.

In Addis Ababa, Daglo signed a declaration with Sudan’s former civilian Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, who also attended the IGAD summit.

The RSF appears to have been gaining new ground in recent months, with little resistance from the army.

Sudan “is facing one of the fastest unfolding crises globally,” the United Nations humanitarian agency, OCHA, says, with more than 7.4 million people displaced and more than half the population needing humanitarian assistance.

The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, an analyst group, puts the death toll at more than 13,000.

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