Ruto to lead Igad direct talks with Sudan generals

Tuesday June 13 2023
kenya president

Kenya’s President William Ruto. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG


Kenyan President William Ruto will lead three other leaders in the Horn of Africa in an attempt to have direct talks with warring Sudanese generals, signalling the most concerted effort yet to resolve the conflict in Sudan.

The decision was reached on Monday after the Ordinary Summit of the regional bloc, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad ), which created a quartet of countries to seek Sudanese peace. The quartet is an expansion of three countries; South Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti which had been attempting to have direct sittings with Sudanese warring parties to no avail.

Read: Igad seeks Sudan ceasefire extension

But as Djibouti will now chair the Igad Summit, the new four countries will be led by Kenya and include South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia.

“We have taken the decision that the quartet of Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somalia, will, in the next ten days, meet face to face with General Al-Burhan and General Daglo…so that we can speak to them directly on behalf of Igad , with the view of stopping the war that is raging,” said Kenyan President William Ruto at a press briefing in Djibouti, where the Summit gathered on Monday.

“Kenya commits to meet the two Sudan generals face to face to find a lasting solution to the crisis,” he further said.


Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and his nemesis Mohamed Daglo Hemedti lead rival forces; the Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces. Since April 15, their clash has led to more than 1200 deaths, 800,000 displacements and serious property destruction. The sides have signed seven ceasefire deals, all broken within hours of declaration.

The latest ceasefire on Monday was also broken, according to mediators in the Jeddah Talks, facilitated by Saudi Arabia and the US, even though there was less reported fighting this time.

“The Sudanese Armed Forces (Saf) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) demonstrated effective command and control over their forces, resulting in reduced fighting throughout Sudan that enabled delivery of vital humanitarian assistance and the achievement of some confidence building measures,’ said a statement from Jeddah talks.

“However, there were violations, and, following the expiration of the short-term ceasefire, facilitators have been deeply disappointed by the immediate resumption of intense violence, which we strongly condemn.”

Igad’s move could fill a void left a week ago after Jeddah Talks were suspended with mediators accusing parties of lacking seriousness.

Read: US to resume Sudan mediation once parties 'serious'

President Ruto said part of the direct talks with the Sudanese generals will be on reopening a reliable humanitarian corridor.

"But Igad will want a permanent cessation of hostilities to allow the country hold discussions on how to reform their governance," Ruto said.

 “We have also agreed that in the next three weeks, we also begin the process of an inclusive national dialogue to get the people of Sudan to discuss, in their diversity, the issues in their country. The generals will also have opportunity to send representatives.”

The Igad group, however, may be met with the old problem in Sudan: persistent violation of peace deals signed on by representatives of both sides.

In fact, since the war broke out, only Al-Burhan has come forth in public while Hemedti has kept his profile low as bullets wheeze in the skies. Will he accept to attend meetings physically? At the Jeddah Talks, both sides sent a representative but most of the issues they agreed on were violated back home.

At the Igad meeting on Monday, Burhan’s special envoy Malik Agar was present. In addition, Sudan will now be vice-chair of the Summit.

When the war broke out, the two forces had disagreed on what kind of reforms to take for the command structure of the security forces. The Rapid Support Forces, an offshoot of the feared Janjaweed militia, demanded autonomy.