Igad gives Sudan warring parties 14 days to find resolution
The 42nd Extraordinary Assembly of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igadmeeting in Entebbe on January 18 asked Sudan’s warring parties to meet and talk and resolve the conflicts in 14 days and directed Ethiopia to withdraw from the sea deal with Somaliland.
The summit hosted by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and presided over by Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti and chairperson of Igad Heads of State, was also attended by President William Ruto of Kenya, Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia, Salva Kiir of South Sudan, as well as representatives from the African Union, the United Nations, the League of Arab States, the European Union, and the United States.
The leaders asked for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and cessation of hostilities between the warring parties in Sudan and to hold a face-to-face meeting within 14 days.
A war between the Sudanese Armed Forces (Saf under Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF under Mohammed Hamdan Daglo broke out on April 15, 2023.
Read:Why mediators have struggled with Sudan war
More than 10,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. More than seven million people are believed to be internally displaced while others have since fled to neighbouring countries.
The presidents directed the Igad Secretariat, in collaboration with the African Union Commission, to revise the roadmap for the resolution of the conflict within a month and lauded the appointment of a High-Level Panel for Sudan by the AUC chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.
The members of the panel, High Representative for Silencing the Guns Mohamed Ibn Chambas, former vice-president of Uganda Dr Specioza Wandira-Kazibwe and former special representative of the chairperson of the Commission to Somalia Francisco Madeira, will work with all the Sudanese civilian forces, military belligerents and regional and global actors, including Igad, UN, League of Arab States, to ensure an all-inclusive process towards the swift restoration of peace, constitutional order and stability.
Read:AU appoints 3 prominent Africans to Sudan peace panel
Michael Hammer, US special envoy for the Horn, called on the fighting groups to adhere to their recent commitments.to stop fighting.
A ceasefire was signed by the parties in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on May 20, 2023. Another treaty for unconditional ceasefire was signed on December 9 during an Igad meeting, but the fighting has continued.
“It’s time for them to take action consistent with their stated claims that they want to stop the fighting and meet the needs of the people,” Hammer said.
On Tuesday, the Sudanese government suspended ties with Igad, accusing it of violating Sudan’s sovereignty by inviting the paramilitary leader to the summit.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounces the invitation extended by the Igad Secretariat to the leader of the Janjaweed militia to attend the 42nd Extraordinary Session of the Igad Assembly of Heads of State and Government. This invitation constitutes a flagrant violation of the Agreement establishing Igad and its rules of procedures as well as the agreed principles of intergovernmental organisations,” a statement from the foreign affairs ministry stated.
Muhammed Amin, an official from Sudan, says Khartoum does not trust the impartiality of some of the countries in Igad. He told The EastAfrican in Kampala that Daglo has been to most of the capitals of the neighbouring countries, such as Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, and Ethiopia, in recent months, and has been hosted by the leaders.
Read:Sudan crisis: Hemedti’s shuttle diplomacy divides region
“That shows these countries are recognizing the rebel leader. Moreover, Kenya hosts many members of the rebel movement, yet President Ruto is taking part in this summit,” he said.
Although Daglo attended the summit, he was not given an opportunity to speak.
On Somalia, the summit called for an end to tensions between Somalia and Ethiopia over an agreement signed between Ethiopia and Somalia’s breakaway region Somaliland, affirming their recognition of Somalia’s sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity, which includes Somaliland.
Tension broke out when Ethiopia in its quest for access to the sea, signed an agreement with Somaliland on January 1 for use of the port for 50 years in exchange for Ethiopia’s recognition of Somaliland as an independent state.
This did not go well with Somalia, which has responded by closing off its airspace from Ethiopia, a conflict regional leaders said could escalate the instability in the region and give the Al Shabaab terrorists fertile grounds to recruit and destabilize the region further.