Kenyan President William Ruto pledged Monday to arrange a “face to face” meeting between Sudan’s warring generals to settle the country’s crisis after numerous ceasefires failed to hold, according to the Kenyan presidency.
Fighting in the northeast African country has raged since mid-April, when army leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who controls the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, turned on one other.
Multiple truces have been struck and broken, with US and Saudi mediators warning on Saturday that if a 24-hour ceasefire is not maintained, they will abandon mediation efforts.
Along with the United States and Saudi Arabia, the African Union, which suspended Sudan after a coup led by Burhan and Daglo in 2021, and the East African regional body IGAD have urged for talks mediated by South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir.
The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development stated on Monday in Djibouti that it would enlarge the number of nations entrusted with resolving the situation, with Kenya chairing a quartet that included Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan.
“Kenya commits to meeting the two Sudan generals face to face in order to find a lasting solution to the crisis,” Ruto said, according to a statement issued by the Kenyan president summarising his statements to the media in Djibouti.
“In the next three weeks, we will begin the process of an inclusive national dialogue,” Ruto said, adding that a humanitarian corridor will be built in a fortnight to help with relief distribution.
According to a draught bulletin published by Ruto’s office for the IGAD summit, the four leaders would “arrange (a) face-to-face meeting between (Burhan and Daglo) in one of the regional capitals.”
After an attempted peace fell at the end of May, the US placed sanctions on both competing generals.
According to the United Nations, a record 25 million people – more than half the population – require help and protection.
According to the UN, fighting has engulfed Khartoum and the western area of Darfur, displacing over two million people, including 476,000 who have sought safety in neighbouring countries.
The most recent truce, which concluded on Sunday, provided locals with a rare reprieve from the hostilities, allowing besieged inhabitants to walk outside and stock up on food and other necessities.
Sudan’s military leaders, as well as Daglo, gained significant fortune during the tenure of longstanding strongman Omar al-Bashir, whose government faced decades of international sanctions until being deposed in 2019.