New Igad peace bid on Sudan faces early hurdles

Sunday January 14 2024

A combo photo of Sudan's army chief Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (left) and Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (right), who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. PHOTO | AFP


The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) on Sunday received bad signals from Sudan after the junta declined an invite for talks on the latest peace bid scheduled for Entebbe in Uganda this week.

Igad had scheduled an extraordinary meeting on January 18 on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit to discuss the Sudan war.

And while rebels, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), accepted the invite, the junta under Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan accused the bloc of engineering a "shameful precedent".

Read: Why mediators have struggled with Sudan war

The Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council on Saturday announced the rejection of a new invitation by Igad to hold a summit to discuss the country's situation in the coming days.

The Sudanese government announced in a statement seen by Nation that it has been dealing positively with all initiatives especially the efforts of Igad to reach peace in Sudan but the regional bloc did not commit to implementing the outcomes of the recent summit in Djibouti by meeting with the President of the Sovereign Council and the leader of the rebellion.


The statement added that Igad did not provide a convincing justification for canceling the meeting it called for on December 28, under the pretext that the RSF leader Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti) was unable to attend for technical reasons while he was touring a number of Igad countries on the same date.

The statement said that the Sudan's government believes that there is no need to hold a summit to discuss the country's issues before implementing the outcomes of the previous summit.

The statement reiterated the Sudanese government's assertion that what is going on in the country is an internal matter and said that “our response to regional initiatives does not mean giving up our sovereign right to solve the problem of Sudan by the Sudanese”.

Meanwhile, Daglo announced he accepted the invitation to attend and participate in the Igad summit in the Ugandan city of Entebbe through his official page on the X platform.

Read: Sudan’s peers move to secure peace deal

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry denounced the invitation made by Igad to the RSF commander to participate in the extraordinary summit of presidents scheduled for next Thursday, considering it an attempt to give it legitimacy in a precedent it described as "disgraceful", saying that its options remain open regarding dealing with the bloc.

“The invitation of the Igad Secretariat to the leader of the Janjaweed militia to attend the emergency summit of Igad No 42 is flagrant violation of the agreement establishing Igad and all the rules and traditions of the work of international organisations, and a gross disregard for the victims of genocide, ethnic cleansing, sexual violence and all the atrocities practiced by Janjaweed gangs in different parts of the country,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in statement.

The statement added that “the ministry does not need to remind that the establishment of an organization of sovereign governments aims to promote regional peace and security and achieve integration among member states, and there is no place in it for terrorist and criminal groups”.

Not only did Igad remain silent as graves over the atrocities of the terrorist militia, which were condemned by international organisations such as UN, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, EU, League of Arab States, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, and a number of countries led by the US, but it also sought to grant the militia legitimacy by calling for a meeting. Only heads of state and government of member states participate.

The statement further said, “This shameful precedent will not only destroy the credibility of Igad as a regional bloc, because it does not respect its documents and basic systems and works to undermine the sovereignty of member states, but it also represents sponsorship of terrorism, genocide and ethnic cleansing, and encouragement for the groups that commit the atrocities that the region is suffering from.

Read: US alarmed as Sudan paramilitary escalate violence

Therefore, Sudan's options remain open towards Igad in light of its insistence on repudiating its basic system and the requirements of international law and accepting it to be a tool for conspiring against Sudan and its people”.

Igad's current chairperson and Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh called on the member states to hold an extraordinary summit in Uganda this weekend to discuss the situation in Sudan and the dispute between Ethiopia and Somalia, as part of the bloc's intensive efforts to pressure the warring parties to sign a cessation of hostilities agreement that contributes to the delivery of humanitarian aid to those affected by the conflict.

The previous Igad summit had called for an immediate meeting between the Sudanese parties, aimed at integrating the proposals of the Jeddah platform and the African map to resolve the crisis that has been raging since April 2022.