Exclusive: Why Sudan protested IGAD Quartet meeting

Exclusive: Why Sudan protested IGAD Quartet meeting
The Vice President of Sudan Transitional Sovereign Council Malik Agar exchanges formal greetings with the President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa. [Photo: courtesy]

​Lack of consultation by Kenya and the bossiness with which Nairobi handled its position as the chair of the ​three-nation group mandated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) ​to try and find a permanent solution to Sudan’s violence were the reasons why Khartoum boycotted a meeting chaired by President William Ruto in Ethiopia last week.

This was revealed by Malik Agar, the vice president of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council, during his trip to South Africa.

Sudan recently walked out of the IGAD Quartet meeting in Addis Ababa. 

The meeting was chaired by William Ruto, Kenya’s president, whom IGAD had settled on as the chairperson of the regional mechanism charged with bringing the two warring parties to the negotiating table.

​Kenya had replaced South Sudan, which IGAD first mandated to steer the talks ​immediately after the war broke out on April 15, 2023.​

But Khartoum, torn apart by deadly fighting between national forces and Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary wing that plays allegiance to Mohamed Dagalo, strongly protested the decision to pick Ruto as the chair.

 Agar claimed that Sudan’s sovereignty was overlooked by President Ruto during the meeting.

“Despite Sudan’s objections to his head of the committee, he (Ruto) accepted the chairmanship of the Quartet mechanism without Sudan’s consent. This is a violation of our sovereignty,” Agar said, adding that Ruto did not ask for consent from Sudan for his chairmanship before he could proceed with the meeting.

“I told him that we have no unfavourable feelings against the IGAD and are willing to work with it. I explained our position on President William Ruto,” he added when he met South Africa’s President Ceryl Ramaphosa.

Sudan (government) has grown cold feet with the Jeddah Talks, which were spearheaded by Saudi Arabia and the United States of America and are currently opposed to the mechanism by IGAD.

However, on Thursday, representatives of Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, one of the protagonists in the ongoing violence, attended a similar initiative called by Sudan’s neighbours who have been forced to b​​ear the brunt of the humanitarian crisis created by the ongoing war.

The war has displaced over 4 million people, most of whom have fled to neighbouring countries like South Sudan, Chad, and Egypt, among others.

The summit called by Sudan’s neighbours was held in Egypt. South Sudan was among the countries that attended the meeting that called for inclusivity when dealing with the volatile situation.

​The summit also called for the Sudanese-led mediation process and finding African solutions to African problems, and protecting Sudanese sovereignty and unity.

Agar said that talks will be advanced in St. Petersburg, Russia, during the Russia-African Economic Summit.

On Monday, the delegation of the Sudanese government protested the IGAD Quartet meeting in Addis Ababa after realising the Kenyan President was chairing the meeting.

The president of the Sudanese Transitional Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, earlier rejected Ruto as the head of the IGAD Quartet, accusing him of housing Rapid Support Forces (RSF) leaders in Nairobi.

But, Ruto later denied this, saying no RSF leaders were present in Nairobi.

On Thursday, leaders from Sudan’s neighbouring countries of Eritrea, Libya, Chad, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, and South Sudan resolved at a summit in Cairo to launch a Sudanese-owned mediation.

The leaders called for an unconditional ceasefire, the opening of a humanitarian corridor, and the delivery of aid to the Sudanese people affected by the protracted conflict.

Since the war started between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) of Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo on April 15, 2023 (three months ago), a lot of lives have been lost and masses have been displaced to the neighbouring countries.

Many ceasefires, including the Jeddah Initiative ceasefires that were aborted twice and the Eid al-Adha ceasefire by the warring parties, all did not yield as the fighting escalated to other major provinces of the Sudan.​