Every minute now counts for IGAD to chase Sudan ceasefire

Every minute now counts for IGAD to chase Sudan ceasefire
IGAD Heads of State pose for a group photo at the 14th ordinary session of the IGAD Heads of State. Photo: IGAD

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has around five days left to arrange for in-person peace talks with the two feuding military generals in Sudan amid confusion and silence from the member states.

An IGAD meeting held on Monday tasked Kenyan President William Ruto with heading the mediation team from the four countries—Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan—and brokering a ceasefire deal for Khartoum.

It was agreed that the Quartet would arrange a face-to-face meeting within 10 days between the commander of the Sudanese army and the head of the Sovereignty Council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commander of the Rapid Support Forces, in one of the capitals of the region.

“Within 10 days, the Quartet will arrange a face-to-face meeting between H.E. Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, the Chairperson of the Transitional Sovereignty Council of the Republic of Sudan, and Gen. Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo in one of the regional capitals.” the statement partly read.

According to the final communiqué of the 14th ordinary session of the IGAD assembly of heads of state and government, a face-to-face meeting between the Sudanese rival generals should be conducted by the countries tasked with mediating Sudanese talks within 10 days from the date of the meeting.

The IGAD communiqué also included reaching an agreement between the warring parties within two weeks on securing a humanitarian corridor. It also involved initiating an inclusive political process towards a political settlement of the conflict in Sudan within three weeks in coordination and consultation with the government of Sudan.

But the proposal was rebuffed by the Sudanese government, which claimed that Mr. Ruto was not appropriate to lead the mediation team. Although they cited no reasons for rejecting him, they maintained that IGAD should retain President Salva Kiir as the head of the team.

Since Khartoum responded, no date has been communicated or location picked in any other IGAD countries to host the mediation team.

In addition, the position of the Rapid Support Forces leader, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, has not been known about the new changes being made by IGAD regarding who will head the mediation team.

While IGAD has remained silent, attempts by The City Review to get comments from South Sudan’s ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation and the Ethiopian Embassy in Juba to know their stands on the matter proved unfruitful by press time.

IGAD includes eight African countries, namely Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Eritrea.

The national army under the command of Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan has been exchanging fire with the paramilitary troops of Gen. Dagalo, Al-Burhan’s former deputy.

Currently, South Sudan has born the greatest humanitarian burden with approximately over 350,000 people fleeing war to find refuge in South Sudan. Humanitarian aid agencies predicted a surge in numbers in the past week, with the war showing no signs of ending.

A ceasefire agreed upon by the generals in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, expired last week with no tangible steps made in truce.