African mediators claim progress in latest effort to end war in Sudan
Regional body IGAD says it secured a commitment from the warring parties to implement a ceasefire and dialogue over the conflict.
Published On 11 Dec 202311 Dec 2023
An African regional body involved in efforts to mediate over the war in Sudan at the weekend said it has secured a commitment from warring parties to implement a ceasefire and hold a political dialogue aimed at resolving the conflict.
At talks on Saturday in Djibouti, the current chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, agreed to a one-on-one meeting with the head of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, widely known as Hemedti, an IGAD statement said.
In a phone call, Hemedti also agreed to the ceasefire proposal and a meeting with al-Burhan, the statement said.
Hemedti and al-Burhan “accepted the principle of meeting within 15 days in order to pave the way for a series of confidence-building measures between the two parties that lead to the launch of a political process”, said Alexis Mohammed, adviser to Djibouti’s president.
The statement gave no further details, including when and where the two generals would meet.
Neither the Sudanese army nor the paramilitary RSF has commented on the development. Both sides have been locked in a conflict since mid-April that has devastated the capital, Khartoum, and triggered waves of ethnic killings in Darfur despite several diplomatic efforts to halt the fighting.
During the Djibouti meeting, al-Burhan accused the RSF of “barbaric attacks” but said the army had not closed the door on finding a peaceful solution.
Hemedti, whose whereabouts are unknown, addressed the IGAD meeting remotely, blaming the outbreak of the war on loyalists of former President Omar al-Bashir who are powerful within the army. He called for army reforms and the formation of a civilian government.
The Djibouti meeting was organised by IGAD – an eight-country trade bloc comprising countries in East Africa – and the African Union.
It was the latest of several peace efforts to end the conflict. Last week, yet another round of indirect talks between the army and the RSF brokered by Saudi Arabia and the United States faltered as both sides pressed on with their military campaigns.
The war between the two sides erupted over an internationally backed plan to merge the RSF into the army and launch a transition towards elections.
The army and the RSF had shared power after al-Bashir was toppled during a popular uprising in 2019. Before they came to blows, they jointly staged a coup in 2021 that upended efforts to steer Sudan towards democracy.
Witnesses reported blasts at the major al-Jaili oil refinery on the outskirts of Khartoum on Sunday, while both sides said there had been casualties when a Red Cross convoy came under fire in the capital.