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IGAD assembly urges int’l community to scale up humanitarian support to Sudan

Addis Ababa, December 10, 2023 (FBC) – The 41st Extraordinary Assembly of the IGAD Heads of State and Government was held on Saturday, 9th December 2023, in Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti, on the situation in Sudan under the chairmanship of Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti and the Chairperson of the IGAD Heads of State and Government.

The Assembly was attended by Abiy Ahmed (PhD), Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, William Ruto (PhD), President of the Republic of Kenya, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (PhD), President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, General Abdel Fattah Al- Burhan, the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council of the Republic of Sudan, James Pitia Morgan (PhD), Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of South Sudan and Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs of the Republic of Uganda.

Also in attendance were Workneh Gebeyehu (PhD), the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ramtane Lamamra, Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Sudan, Ambassador Faisal Bin Sultan Al-Qabbani, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Djibouti, Ambassador Michael Hammer, US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Sylvie Tadesse, Head of EU Delegation to the Republic of Djibouti and Ambassador Ismail Wais (PhD), IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan.

Arising from the official statements from the IGAD Member states and ensuing deliberations that followed a report on the situation in Sudan and the progress on the Peace Process by William Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya and Chair of the IGAD Quartet Group of Countries, the assembly thanked the people and Government of the Republic of Djibouti for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to delegates from Member States and invited guests.

The assembly congratulated Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti and the Chairperson of the IGAD Heads of State and Government for successfully convening the 41st Extraordinary IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government.

IGAD’s assembly welcomed and appreciated Gen Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council of the Republic of the Sudan for attending the 41st Extraordinary Assembly in person; and for his unequivocal assurances of his commitment to an unconditional ceasefire and resolution of the conflict through political dialogue and his agreement to the proposal by the Assembly for him to have a one-to-one meeting with the Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) with the facilitation of IGAD.

And, welcomed the discussions and consultations held on the margins of the 41st Extraordinary Summit between the IGAD Heads of State and Government and the delegation of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Appreciated the subsequent telephone conversation between the IGAD Heads of State and Government and the commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and his acceptance of the proposals of the Assembly for an unconditional ceasefire, resolution of the conflict through political dialogue and the holding of a one-to-one meeting with the Commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) with the facilitation of IGAD.

Welcomed the comprehensive report tabled by the Chairperson of the Quartet Group of Countries, William Ruto, and expressed gratitude at the commitment with which he steered the efforts of the quartet; and appreciated the dedication and efforts of the members of the Quartet towards peacefully resolving the ongoing crisis in the Republic of Sudan and Noting that the Quartet had ably discharged the task for which it was established, the IGAD Assembly adopted the report filed, and Resolved, in the interest of shared and collective responsibility, to be fully seized of the search for peace in the Sudan.

IGAD’s assembly also commended the role played by the IGAD Secretariat led by Workneh Gebeyehu (PhD), the Executive Secretary of IGAD, for successfully facilitating this successful 41st Extraordinary Summit and for his pivotal role in co-facilitating the latest round of the Jeddah Talks that has continued to position IGAD at the forefront of ongoing mediation efforts.

It also commended the resolve of the co-facilitators of the Jeddah Talks namely the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United States of America, and IGAD that also represents the African Union (AU), and thanked them for the support extended in preserving the modest progress made so far in the last round of talks, and expressed IGAD’s continued and full support to the process.

Assembly thanked the delegation of the United Arab Emirates led by Sheikh Shakhboot Bin Nahyan Al Nahyan, State Minister for Foreign Affairs for their support and input to the discussions held by the IGAD Heads of State and Government regarding the peace process for the Republic of Sudan on the margins of the 41st Extraordinary Assembly, and welcomed the Humanitarian Access Agreement signed severally by the parties to the conflict in Jeddah on 7th November 2023 and the four (4) confidence building measures agreed between the parties and subsequent steps taken towards implementation, called on the parties to honor their agreement and commitment.

The assembly also urged, IGAD Member States to affirm their pledges for humanitarian support to Sudan and for the International Community to immediately respond and scale up support to alleviate the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Sudan.

Alarmed by the unprecedented toll the ongoing conflict is having on the lives and well-being of civilians particularly Women and Children as well as on the security and humanitarian situation in the Republic of the Sudan and the region at large, the assembly reiterated its call to the parties to the conflict to immediately and unconditionally cease hostilities and allow unimpeded humanitarian access and protection of civilians in the affected areas and communities.

The assembly condemned unwarranted interventions and interferences by external state and non-state actors in the conflict in Sudan and further urged them to refrain from providing and re-supplying war assets and materiel to either side of the conflict and called on the international community to exert maximum pressure on any actor(s) involved in aiding the conflict.

Assembly also acknowledged the other corresponding initiatives geared towards the re-establishment of Peace in the Republic of Sudan, notably the peace initiatives that brings together the neighbouring countries of Sudan and advocated for a consolidation and coalescing of efforts under the IGAD- AU led process to chart a unified and coordinated pathway to Peace under the IGAD Roadmap and to further secure the endorsement of the Roadmap by the AU PSC and the UNSC in order to galvanize the Community of Nations in solidarity with the people and Republic of the Sudan;

Mindful of the fact that there cannot be a military solution to the current crisis in Sudan, and that peaceful and respectful dialogue and discussion are the only way to chart the way forward for a peaceful, stable, united and democratic Sudan, called for a unified Africa-anchored mediation process that coordinates the various national, regional, continental and international efforts and tracks under the auspices of IGAD and the AU.

Assembly resolved to redouble efforts and work towards better and closer collaboration and coordination with all stakeholders to mobilize full political and diplomatic support for IGAD and the AU to effectively discharge their critical role in delivering a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict and for IGAD to convene on a quarterly basis to review the state of progress of the peace process in the Sudan.

Cognisant of the aspiration of the Sudanese people for democratic governance, the IGAD summit committed to support a civilian-led inclusive political process that will elaborate the nature and structure of the Sudanese society and governance and move the country to a viable, civil democratic rule, and decided to fast-track efforts in organizing an IGAD- AU facilitated all-inclusive Sudanese-owned and Sudanese-led civilian dialogue aimed at forging national consensus towards the formation of a civilian-led transition that will culminate in the holding of open, transparent and democratic elections.

The assembly decided to establish an IGAD framework comprised of respected diplomatic and political interlocutors, nominated by IGAD Heads of Government to undertake the mediation efforts in Sudan, and tasked the Executive Secretary of IGAD to present, within the shortest time possible to the IGAD Council of Ministers a candidate(s) for appointment as the IGAD Special Envoy to Sudan, reporting to the Executive Secretary, shall coordinate and lead IGAD mediation efforts in accordance with the IGAD Roadmap for the Peace Process in Sudan.

The assembly further directed the Executive Secretary to convey this communiqué to the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council, and seek their endorsement and support of the same.

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