Igad says Sudan belongs to the people after junta cuts ties
After the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad plan to broker face-to-face talks in the Sudan crisis lost political momentum, the heads of State and Government meeting in Uganda on Thursday urged the warring parties to convene within two weeks to discuss ways to end the conflict.
Two days before the extraordinary summit in Kampala, the junta in Khartoum aborted the regional bloc’s attempt to stop the war by suspending its involvement in the mediation efforts citing violations of “Sudan’s sovereignty”.
Read:Sudan ‘suspends’ cooperation with Igad
While the Sudanese military-led government headed by Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan boycotted the summit, his nemesis Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo aka Hemedti, leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF was in Kampala at the summit.
Hemedti took the opportunity to tell the Igad leaders that he was open tonegotiations devoid of personal interests or revolving around the agenda of a particular group.
Burhan had been irked by Igad’s invitation of Hemedti, which he sees as giving RSF legitimacy. Prior to the summit, Hemedti toured six African countries, including Igad members. The developments, analysts say, have seen the army chief become more isolated diplomatically.
Last December, Igad had scheduled a direct meeting between the warring generals, but it was the RSF leader who declined to attend the meeting.
Igad leaders Thursday said Sudan belongs to the Sudanese people, who should not bear the brunt of an unjust war.
“The Republic of the Sudan does not belong to the parties to the conflict only but to the Sudanese people…Igad member states have a primary responsibility to ensure the will of the people of the Sudan prevails,” the leaders said in a statement.
The meeting,chaired by Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti and Chairman of the Igad Heads of State and Government, was attended by presidents William Ruto of Kenya, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia, Salva Kiir of South Sudan and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. Others wereAfrican Union Commission chair Moussa Faki, Igad Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu, andepresentatives of key international actors
The Assembly recalled the parties’ commitment to meet face-to-face within 14 days and urged strict adherence to the deadline.
Igad said it would facilitate an all-inclusive peace process to end the conflict in close collaboration with all Sudanese stakeholders, the African Union and regional and international actors.
Igad also directed its secretariat, in coordination with the African Union Commission, to revise the Roadmap for the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of Sudan that was adopted at the 14th Ordinary Session of the Igad heads of State and Government.
The roadmap is to be revised with clear timelines and within one month to convene a Sudanese-owned and Sudanese-led process towards a democratic government in Sudan.
Ahead of the Igad summit, the AU Commission chair Moussa Faki appointed three prominent African personalities as members of the AU High-level Panel on Sudan.
Read:AU appoints 3 prominent Africans to Sudan peace panel
Mr Faki said that the panel would work with all parties in the Sudan crisis “to ensure an all-inclusive process towards the swift restoration of peace, constitutional order and stability” in the country.
The stakeholders include civilian forces, warring military parties, regional and global actors including the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the United Nations and the League of Arab States.
Mr Faki called on all parties involved to provide the necessary cooperation and support to the team members for the successful implementation of their mandate.
With the appointment, the African Union appears to fill the role of Igad in the mediation process.