Harare — Kenya’s President William Ruto talked with Sudan junta head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on July 16 – in what is being seen as the first step since the Sudanese army chief explicitly rejected Kenya’s mediation role.
Ruto also spoke with the president of Chad on the situation in Sudan.
“Held a telephone call with the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council of Sudan General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan. In my capacity as chair of the IGAD Quartet of Heads of States on Sudan, I also spoke with the President of Chad General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno; our conversation centered around the speedy restoration of normalcy in Sudan and support for refugee-hosting countries,” Ruto said in a statement.
General Burhan, who leads the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) that is fighting against his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, alias Hemedti, and his Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group, had previously rejected mediation efforts by four members of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) headed by the president of Kenya.
Although the specifics of the phone call were not disclosed, it indicates Ruto’s attempt to demonstrate his neutrality in the face of allegations of tight economic links with Hemedti, even though Burhan has not offered proof to support his assertions.
Ruto called for an end to the conflict, which began on April 15 of this year, as well as parallel mediation forums to seek a long-term truce and humanitarian corridor.
“The IGAD and Jeddah processes must work together to facilitate the realization of a permanent ceasefire in Sudan. They must also push for the free movement of humanitarian assistance, the protection of refugees and the reactivation of the Political Process,” Ruto said.
Earlier, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) said that he was investigating fresh claims of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region, including the recent killings of 87 members of the ethnic Masalit community, reportedly carried out by the Rapid Security Forces and its militia.
Briefing the United Nations Security Council, Prosecutor Karim Khan, said that the mandate of his office was clear. “[Our mandate is] ongoing with respect to crimes within our jurisdiction, the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; and any individual who is found to be committing those crimes within our jurisdiction will be investigated,” he said.
Sudan, which is the third-largest country in Africa by geographical area, shares borders with seven other nations in a volatile region. As a result, the present conflict in Sudan will have an impact on a number of nations, including the Central African Republic, Egypt, Libya, Chad, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea.
The seven neighboring countries have since held a summit in the Egyptian capital Cairo where they agreed to establish a ministerial mechanism aimed at bringing an end to the ongoing violent conflict. The leaders of Libya, Eritrea, Chad, the Central African Republic (CAR), Ethiopia, and South Sudan agreed on the need to facilitate humanitarian aid and motto practical solutions to halt the fighting.
The mechanism, is aimed at developing an action plan to achieve a comprehensive resolution for the bloody conflict that broke out in the Sudanese capital on April 15, 2023 and quickly spread to other parts of the country.