By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
What you need to know:
- The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat urged the two sides to agree to a humanitarian ceasefire as a matter of urgency as a first step to allow for the immediate supply of relief materials to ease the suffering of Sudanese civilians, who have borne the brunt of this crisis.
As Sudanese rival sides began direct talks in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Jeddah, pressures are mounting against the warring factions to strike a humanitarian truce deal.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Sunday urged the warring parties to immediately and unconditionally agree to a humanitarian ceasefire.
The regional bloc’s call comes one day after representatives of the Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) start their first face-to-face dialogue in Jeddah.
The “pre-negotiation talks” aimed to secure a ceasefire are sponsored by the United States and Saudi Arabia.
In a statement issued Sunday, the East African bloc, IGAD said it is closely following the humanitarian ceasefire talks between the two parties.
IGAD’s Executive Secretary, Mr Workneh Gebeyehu urged the two sides to seize the opportunity of the ongoing direct talks to silence the guns.
“The Executive Secretary calls upon the SAF and RSF to immediately and unconditionally agree to a humanitarian ceasefire to allow the civilian population and families access to protection, safe corridors for movement, and access to healthcare services and meet their food needs” the IGAD statement reads.
The Executive Secretary reminded the parties of the decision of the Assembly of the IGAD Heads of State and Government during their 40th Extraordinary Session of 16 April 2023 that called for the immediate cessation of hostilities.
The IGAD assembly then has also decided to send a high-level peace mission headed by South Sudan President Salva Kiir which includes President Ismael Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, and President William Ruto of Kenya.
“The Executive Secretary applauds H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit, the lead mediator of the High-Level peace mission for his efforts in engaging with Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan of SAF and General Mohamed Dagalo of RSF to cease hostilities and nominate representatives to a dialogue” the IGAD statement added.
Mr. Workneh, a former Ethiopian Foreign Minister further commended the IGAD Assembly for coordinating with other regional and international efforts to work towards a stable and peaceful Sudan in the best interest of the Sudanese people and the region.
Shortly after Saturday’s “pre-negotiation talks” began in Jeddah, the African Union (AU) later on the day released a statement stressing the Imperative of Ceasefire in Sudan.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat urged the two sides to agree to a humanitarian ceasefire as a matter of urgency as a first step to allow for the immediate supply of relief materials to ease the suffering of Sudanese civilians, who have borne the brunt of this crisis.
Moussa Faki also calls on the SAF and RSF to promptly agree to open humanitarian corridors to ease the distribution of essential supplies and restoration of services.
“The Chairperson reiterates the imperative for the parties to comply with International
Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law and to permanently silence the guns in the supreme interest of the people of Sudan” the AU statement said.
The Chairperson stressed the urgent need for the international community to combine their efforts strongly and expeditiously in a collective action, to express solidarity with the Sudanese people for peace, democracy, and development.
Saturday’s talks come amid reports of continued clashes in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
According to sources, the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces are each represented by Seven representatives.
The Sudanese army said Jeddah talks aimed only at negotiating a humanitarian truce and not to find political resolutions to the conflict.
However, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan hoped that the talks would “lead to the end of the conflict and the return of security and stability to the Republic of Sudan”
US and Saudi are playing a lead role in the talks but the UK, the Arab League, IGAD and the AU are also involved in the mediation process.
The fighting in Sudan which entered fourth week has claimed the lives of hundreds of people and displaced 450,000 people.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says, more than 115,000 people have sought refuge in neighboring countries.
(Source: Daily Monitor)