Despite being rejected as a mediator in the ongoing Sudan war, President William Ruto on Wednesday remained defiant, maintaining that the ongoing war in the troubled country is a military affair and does not in any way reflect the nation’s democratic ideals.
Following a meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) quartet in Nairobi on the sidelines of the African Climate Summit, IGAD reiterated these remarks, which have infuriated the warring factions and been outrightly rejected by Sudan’s military leadership.
“IGAD strongly condemns the ongoing war and calls upon the warring parties to immediately halt all hostilities and reiterates that there is no military solution to the conflict in Sudan” the bloc chaired by President Ruto affirmed.
In June, when Ruto referred to the Sudan conflict as a military matter and called for the deployment of peacekeeping forces to the country, his comments faced strong opposition from Sudan’s army chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
President William Ruto speaking in Mombasa on July 29 (left) and General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan of the Sudanese Armed Forces attending an event on November 21, 2021 (right).
The New Arab
A month later, Yasser al-Atta, the Assistant Commander-in-chief of the Sudan Armed Forces, openly challenged Ruto to a war.
Although Kenya did not officially respond to the matter, IGAD decided to pursue a solution by arranging a face-to-face meeting between the warring parties.
The regional bloc proposed consolidating all peace efforts for Sudan within a comprehensive framework addressing the conflict, humanitarian access, and long-term political dialogue to establish lasting peace.
Sudan has consistently rejected Ruto’s proposal for deploying a regional coalition of peacekeeping troops to protect civilians and secure humanitarian corridors.
IGAD’s meeting on Wednesday, which Ruto chaired, came two days after Sudan formally kickstarted the process of replacing Ruto as the chairperson of the influential bloc with South Sudan President Salva Kiir.
At the time, Sudan’s army chief Fattah travelled to Juba, South Sudan for a high-level meeting where he floated the idea of South Sudan President Salva Kiir replacing Ruto as lead mediator.
“We in Sudan feel that South Sudan is the best country to meditate the conflict in Sudan because we have been one country for so long, and we know each other,” Sudan’s Acting Foreign Affairs Minister, Ali al-Sadiq, who was accompanying Fattah stated.
The sentiments were welcomed by South Sudan with the government stating that Salva Kiir had a solution at hand to end the conflict.
A communique from yesterday’s meeting did not reveal if the issue of Ruto’s rejection by Sudan was discussed.
The meeting was attended by; Djibouti President Omar Guelleh, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir, and Ethiopia Defence Minister Abreham Belay.
A photo collage of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan of the Sudanese Armed Forces (left) and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo alias Hemeti (right) attending an event on November 21, 2021.
The Middle East Eye /The New Arab