Sudan seeks Kenya’s support to shake off AU suspension

Sudan seeks Kenya’s support to shake off AU suspension
Sudan Deputy President Hemedti (left) and Kenyan Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua converse during their meeting in Nairiobi, Kenya. [Photo: courtesy]

Sudan has initiated the process of lobbying for the revocation of its suspension by the African Union (AU) in what appears to be a strategic move to strengthen its role in the IGAD leadership.

This is after Sudan’s deputy leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo visited Nairobi, Kenya, to solicit support for regaining the membership the country lost in 2021 following a military takeover.

During his visit to Kenya, Dagalo met Kenya’s Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and discussed ways of bringing permanent peace to South Sudan, according to a news report by the East African.

Sudan has been seeking readmission into the African Union (AU) after it was suspended following a coup led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who ousted the transitional government of former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on October 25, 2021.

“The most important matter in this visit is economic cooperation. There are big economic dimensions in this visit, The first is trade between Sudan and Kenya, which is considered the gateway to East and Central Africa. Sudan does not have a large commercial presence in these areas, but now through Kenya, Khartoum can access them, especially if the shipping line between Port Sudan and Khartoum is expanded. “This provides a big service, especially with the development of Kenya’s infrastructure connectivity,” said Abdel Wahab Gumaa, a Sudanese economic analyst, about the visit of Hemeti as quoted by the outlet.

The high-profile visit also comes after the military leaders led General Abdel Fattah Al Burhan and civilian group signed a ‘Framework Agreement’ late last year, with an aim of restoring civilian rule in the Sudan.

Sudan and Kenya are also main guarantors of the Revitalised Peace Agreement signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to end five years of civil war in South Sudan, which started in 2013.

Early this month, Kenyan President William Ruto said IGAD would hold a summit with a focus on the South Sudan peace process before the end of January.

The Kenyan leader said he had agreed with Gen. Al Burhan for the meeting, which will also discuss regional stability and push South Sudanese parties to the agreement to expedite implementation.

Just days after Ruto’s statement, Al-Burhan made an abrupt visit to Juba to meet President Salva Kiir, where the two leaders discussed several issues pertaining to regional security.

“Noting that they have agreed to establish a joint security force to prevent the infiltration of illegal weapons and to combat negative forces and activities along the border corridors,” read a statement from the Office of the President.

As a key player in the implementation of South Sudan’s peace agreement, Khartoum is expected to work with other guarantors to track adherence to the timelines of the roadmap in the peace agreement, which is expected to culminate in an election in 2024.