Political Reports

Will Burhan African Visit to constitute a late awakening for IGAD

Report – Talal Muddathir
Within “48” hours, the President of the Sudan Sovereign Council (SSC), Abdel Fattah al-Burhan , was active in recording two lightning visits to two countries that play a prominent and important role in the Sudan war crisis, “Kenya”, whose President has intersections and extended economic interests with Rapid Support Forces.
“William Ruto”, and another East African represented by “Ethiopia” “Abiye Ahmed” who recently got out of the bottleneck of the “Tigre” war. The two visits ended a state of “unfriendliness” between Sudan and the two countries that extended for months due to their positions towards the Sudan war, which angered Al-Burhan.
Kenya…a previous estrangement and a new position
The 30th of this November was the date of the visit of the Head of the Sovereign Council to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, the capital that Sudan considers to have, following the outbreak of its war in mid-April, expressed positions that Sudan saw to represent a detriment to its dignity and sovereignty, as it hosted meetings of Sudanese parties without any international or regional mandate to discuss the crisis and subsequently adopted their recommendations and positions.
Kenya made matters worse after a meeting of IGAD countries last June in Djibouti, during which it was announced the formation of a quartet committee headed by Kenya, South Sudan, and the membership of Ethiopia and Somalia, to resolve the crisis in Sudan, which Sudan rejected under diplomatic pretexts saying that it was a decision that was not made by consensus and that it violated diplomatic norms. Then Sudan rephrased it’s position saying, “We reject the presidency of Kenya. Its president, Ruto, is not neutral. We demand that President Salva Kiir remains head the committee.”

Financing an election campaign
The sharp Sudanese position at the time did not stop there, but rather began to detail the response. “Ruto,” based on “previous favour and debt” offered to him by the Rapid Support leader who had huge economic resources, sided, according to Sudan, with the man absent from the scene, “Hemedti,” who financed Ruto’s Electoral elections campaign until he was brought to the palace as president. Then the personal relationship between the two men extended to include entering into huge investments between the two, and for this reason he remains in the eyes of Sudan a non-neutral person.
Ruto added more fuel to the fire after Kenya adopted a proposal to deploy East African Rapid Intervention Force to separate forces in Sudan.
This was met with categorical rejection by Sudan at the time, and tension between the two parties eased last September after the Kenyan president announced that he had spoken by phone with the Sudanese army commander, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, denying his accusation that Kenya was taking sides in the conflict, and that he was ready for IGAD to become involved with others, including Egypt and neighbouring countries, Saudi Arabia, and America to coordinate all these initiatives to reach a solution.
A fruitful call
What the two parties agreed upon in September was finally achieved in November, as the first outcome of Al-Burhan’s visit, which he made last Monday to Kenya, accompanied by the Foreign Acting Minister Ali Al-Sadig, the Director of the General Intelligence Service, General Ahmed Ibrahim Mufaddal, and the Governor of the Darfur Region, Minni Arko Minawi, was Kenya’s commitment to help convene an urgent IGAD summit to find ways to accelerate the Jeddah Process towards cessation of hostilities in Sudan and also agree on a framework for a comprehensive Sudanese dialogue with Ruto committing to brief the IGAD Chairman on this meeting
This is what appears to have actually happened based on the position of the Ethiopian Executive Secretary of the IGAD, “Workne,” during his briefing to the ministerial session of the African Peace and Security Council, which was held virtually yesterday, Wednesday, through which “Workne” called on the international community to join and strengthen cooperation with IGAD for a lasting peace and stability in Sudan.
Ethiopia.. seven months of estrangement
Only 24 hours after returning from Kenya, Al-Burhan flew to “New Flower – the capital, Addis Ababa”… Al-Burhan’s visit was the first since the outbreak of war in April.
Previous positions also cast a shadow on the relationship between the two countries.
A statement by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiye Ahmed aroused Sudan’s anger when, in the first half of the war, he demanded the imposition of a no-fly zone and the removal of heavy artillery from the government army. He even added that there was also a vacuum in the administration of the state, a position that aroused Sudan’s discontent at the time, which expressed, in its foreign ministry, astonished that these statements come from the Ethiopian Prime Minister and completely contradict his direct understandings with Al-Burhan
Al-Burhan ovetcome the bitterness of Abiy’s recent statements behind him and visited Ethiopia yesterday, sat with Abiye Ahmed, and came out on Monday with a joint statement in which IGAD was also present, as they said that the government is open to all initiatives in order to find solutions to this crisis that Sudan is going through, including the initiatives of the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD). IGAD) in an addition to the existing platform – the Jeddah platform – with its main sponsors, Saudi Arabia and the United States of America.
America blesses and considers it an alternative platform
Apparently so far, the Jeddah Negotiating Platform process has not yielded tangible results on the ground since the talks began last May, mediated by the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was halted, then resumed at the end of last October, and then returned and ended with a limited agreement to improve humanitarian access and implement constructive trust measures succh as opening communication channels and reducing inflammatory speeches and misleading information, to pave the way for “Ruto and Al-Burhan” summit, as agreed to hold an urgent IGAD summit to speed up the Jeddah platform, as if it was a new platform, according to the American diplomat, “Cameron Hudson” – an expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, who previously worked in the State Department and the White House with interest in African affairs, as Hudson posted on the “X” platform after Al-Burhan’s visit to Kenya and hinted that the IGAD platform is likely to be separate from Jeddah.
Shameful African attitudes
The description here of the African positions towards the Sudan crisis belongs to Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki… he described it in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper two days ago, as the various attempts to find solutions by the African Union or the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) never achieved their goals, whether through humanitarian intervention and providing aid to the displaced and refugees fleeing the war, or seriously trying to arrange direct meetings between the army leadership and Rapid Support Forces to reach a consensual political solution. There was a lack of coordination and cooperation between the two entities (the Union and the IGAD), according to many observers, in addition to the weak influence on the conflicting parties.
Shall it be a wakening?
Could one think the upcoming IGAD summit represents a late African awakening? and an attempt in a new spirit to bring peace, even if Cameron Hudson considered it in his post to undermine the role of the United States of America in Sudan? The coming days will inevitably reveal a lot.

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