World News IGAD in complex challenge as Ethiopia, Sudan snub summit

Posted by: Berhane Habtemariam

Date: Friday, 19 January 2024

IGAD in complex challenge as Ethiopia, Sudan snub summit

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is facing a fresh challenge of loyalty by some member states as the bloc seeks to tame the conflict in Sudan and the Ethiopia-Somalia tiff yet to end.

The 42nd IGAD Extraordinary Session meant to seek a peaceful solution to the crisis in Sudan and Somalia has been marred by my confusion after the Sudanese government withdrew its engagement of the bloc in conflict resolution citing breach of its sovereignty.

The Khartoum administration announced its withdrawal from today’s summit, emphasizing the need for IGAD to first focus on a face-to-face meeting between the leader of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the leader of Rapid Support Forces, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemetti), to address pressing issues before broader discussions can occur.

It also emphasised the need to implement the resolution from the previous meeting.

It is not clear how the debate on the Sudanese conflict will be handled today in the absence of one party—Gen Al-Burhan who has chosen not to attend the summit.

The Sudanese government is protesting the decision of the IGAD to invite the leader of Rapid Support Forces to submit.

On Saturday, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement expressing dissatisfaction with IGAD’s handling of the situation, stating that the organization failed to provide a clear reason why face-to-face meetings failed.

The statement further highlighted the significance of implementing the outcomes of previous IGAD summits before convening another one.

The Sudanese government also went ahead and issued a statement suspending its engagement with IGAD.

According to the statement obtained by The City Review Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said it is suspending interactions with the IGAD, accusing it of “violating Sudan’s sovereignty.”

The move is likely to put a strain on the latest peace bid to end war in the country.

The ministry, which has been critical of IGAD lately, said it was no longer cooperating with the bloc on any Sudanese affairs.

However, on the other hand, after the invitation, the RSF declared its readiness to take part in the summit before cautioning that the negotiation should focus on a peaceful resolution without the interest of individuals.

In a statement seen by The City Review, the Commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, announced his willingness to attend the IGAD meeting.

Based on the information on his official page on the X platform, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who leads the RSF, said he would attend the summit.

“I will participate in the IGAD meeting with these principles and goals in mind. We shall prevail in the cause of peace, prosperity, democracy, and security,” he said.

Meanwhile, a statement obtained from Addis Standard revealed that the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs cited difficulty attending the IGAD extraordinary summit proposed for January 18, 2024, owing to an overlapping schedule.

Ethiopia expressed short notice for making it hard for them to add the IGAD meeting in Kampala in the schedule, according to the letter seen by The City Review.

“Commitment to a prior engagement that overlaps with the scheduled meeting and the short notice extended to convene the extraordinary summit,” the statement read in part.

The Ethiopia reiterated its support for the IGAD initiative but expressed readiness to take part should there be an alternative date set for summit.

“Ethiopia stands ready to discuss alternative dates in line with the rules of procedure governing meetings of the IGAD,” the letter said.

Ethiopia has seen her relations with Somalia decline following its deal with the wantaway Somaliland which Mogadishu government maintains that it is part and parcel of the Federal Republic.

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