PORT SUDAN / KHARTOUM –
Sudan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry does not accept the proposal by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD) to request the East Africa Standby Force (EASF) consider the possible deployment of forces in Sudan. Tomorrow, Egyptian President Abdelfattah Al Sisi will launch a summit of Sudan’s neighbouring countries, to discuss ways to end the war and its negative repercussions in the region. Airstrikes in several parts of greater Khartoum continued yesterday.
On Monday, the heads of state of IGAD’s Sudan Quartet (Kenya, South Sudan, Djibouti, and Ethiopia) met in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on Monday to discuss the Sudanese war between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and its paramilitary counterpart, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
According to the communique of the meeting, the IGAD Quartet resolved “to request the East Africa Standby Force (EASF) summit to convene in order to consider the possible deployment of the EASF for the protection of civilians and guarantee humanitarian access”.
The Sudanese FA Ministry, now based in Port Sudan, reacted with a short statement, saying that “We reject the deployment of any foreign forces in the country.
“IGAD does not respect the views of its member states, which will make the Government of Sudan reconsider the usefulness of its membership in the organisation.”
The SAF commanded by Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, who is also president of the Sovereignty Council, boycotted the meeting as it opposes the Quartet’s chairmanship of Kenya. “Kenya is not neutral and is home to RSF rebel leaders,” the Sovereignty Council stated last month.
As for the RSF, its leadership is studying the IGAD decisions and will announce its stance later, Ibrahim Mukhir, member of the Advisory Office of RSF Commander Lt Gen Mohamed ‘Hemedti’ Dagalo, told Radio Dabanga yesterday.
He said that the RSF attendance at the IGAD summit in Addis Ababa “confirms to the world the extent of our seriousness in reaching a solution to the Sudanese crisis and stopping the war”.
The IGAD Quartet strongly urged the Sudanese warring parties “to immediately stop the violence and sign an unconditional and indefinite ceasefire through a cessation of hostilities agreement that shall be supported by an effective enforcement and monitoring mechanism”.
The four countries further agreed on the importance of “a face-to-face meeting between the leaders of the warring parties”, as they do not see any “military solution to the conflict in the Republic of Sudan”.
They also decided “to take concrete steps to facilitate immediate humanitarian assistance to all Sudanese affected by the conflict with a focus on vulnerable population”.
Tomorrow, Egyptian President Abdelfattah Al Sisi will launch a summit of Sudan’s neighbouring countries, to discuss ways to end the conflict in the country, and its negative repercussions in the region.
The Egyptian presidency said in a statement yesterday that the summit aims to “develop effective mechanisms with the participation of neighbouring countries, and settle the crisis in Sudan peacefully, in coordination with other regional and international tracks to settle the crisis”.
According to the latest figures of the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), more than 2.2 million people in Sudan fled their homes and sought refuge in safer places in the country. Nearly 700,000 others have fled into neighbouring countries. More than 255,000 of them crossed the border into Egypt.
Ethiopian President Abiy Ahmed earlier called on the warring parties to agree on “an unconditional and indefinite ceasefire, a no-fly zone, the removal of heavy artillery, the delivery of aid, and the resumption of political dialogue”.
The Chadian FA Minister said that “we have lived with war for about 30 years and we do not want the Sudanese to go through the same experience. [..] Dialogue is the only way to end the fighting”.
Kamal Karrar, leader of the Communist Party, told Radio Dabanga that he is optimistic concerning the summit called for by Egypt. “I expect that the summit “will contribute to reaching solutions to the Sudanese crisis, especially since Egypt has a special weight, important role and previous experiences in dealing with such issues”.
RSF Advisor Ibrahim Mukhir welcomed the Cairo summit. “Egypt is a very important and influential country, and we support any initiative that leads to achieving a lasting peace in Sudan,” he told Radio Dabanga yesterday.
The RSF did not receive an invitation to attend the summit.
The advisor further said that the RSF are besieging the army in the area of the Engineers Corps in Omdurman and the General Command in central Khartoum.
The SAF “will not be able to defeat the RSF as evidenced by the mobilisation campaign launched by the president of the Sovereignty Council to recruit men to fight with the army”. The recruitment failed, he said. “Only Islamists have joined the campaign, while the RSF is gaining new soldiers in many areas every day.”
The Sudanese Air Force bombed the Jabra and Abu Adam neighbourhoods in Khartoum on Tuesday morning, “Warplanes are still flying over the capital,” journalist Saleh Abdallah reported yesterday.
“All three cities of greater Khartoum witnessed aerial bombardments on Monday evening,” he told Radio Dabanga.