Kenya's Ruto vows to get Sudan rivals together to end crisis

AFP , Tuesday 13 Jun 2023

Kenya's President William Ruto vowed Monday to arrange a "face to face" meeting between Sudan's warring generals to end the crisis roiling the country after multiple ceasefires have failed to hold, the Kenyan presidency said.

Kenyan President William Ruto
File photo: Kenyan President William Ruto. AFP


Fighting has raged in the northeast African country since mid-April, when army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, turned on each other.

Multiple truces have been agreed and broken, with US and Saudi mediators warning on Saturday that they may break off mediation efforts if a 24-hour ceasefire was not respected.

Alongside US and Saudi efforts, the African Union -- which suspended Sudan following a 2021 military takeover led by Burhan and Daglo -- and East African regional bloc IGAD have pushed for discussions mediated by South Sudan's President Salva Kiir.

At a summit held in Djibouti on Monday, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development announced that it would expand the number of countries tasked with resolving the crisis, with Kenya chairing a quartet including Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan.

'Trapped civilians'

"Kenya commits to meet the two Sudan generals face to face to find a lasting solution to the crisis," Ruto said, according to a statement released by the Kenyan presidency that summed up his remarks to the media in Djibouti.

"In the next three weeks, we will begin the process of an inclusive national dialogue," Ruto said, adding that a humanitarian corridor would be established in a fortnight to facilitate the delivery of aid.

A draft communique of the IGAD meeting released by Ruto's office said the quartet leaders would "arrange (a) face-to-face meeting between (Burhan and Daglo)... in one of the regional capitals."

The United States imposed sanctions on both rival generals after an attempted truce collapsed at the end of May.

A record 25 million people -- more than half the population -- are in need of aid and protection, according to the United Nations.

Fighting has gripped Khartoum and the western region of Darfur, uprooting nearly two million people, including 476,000 who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, the UN says.

The latest ceasefire that ended on Sunday offered residents a rare respite from the violence, allowing trapped civilians to venture outside and stock up on food and other essential supplies.

Sudan's military elites as well as Daglo amassed considerable wealth during the rule of longtime strongman Omar al-Bashir, whose government was subjected to decades of international sanctions before his overthrow in 2019.

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