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Kenya’s President Offers to Mediate Sudan Conflict

Written by on April 21, 2023

Kenya’s President William Ruto has offered to mediate between Sudan’s warring parties, after multiple ceasefires failed to hold and fighting raged for a seventh day Friday in Khartoum and other Sudanese cities.

Ruto made the offer as he conveyed a message of goodwill to the people of Sudan as the holy month of Ramadan comes to an end.

Murithi Mutiga, Africa program director of the International Crisis Group, said it’s encouraging that neighbors, including Kenya, are eager to help resolve the Sudan crisis, but he’s skeptical that Ruto or any one leader can do it alone.

“The reality, though, is that you need concerted actions by multiple external partners because nobody has really substantial leverage over the main actors,” he said.

Ruto said he strongly believes that a peacefully negotiated solution to the conflict in Sudan is within reach. He expressed hope the fighting parties will respond to appeals to end the fighting put forth this week by the East African regional bloc IGAD and the African Union.

But Mutiga says major powers need to step in.

“It’s good to support the regional initiatives that might send the Kenyans, the Djiboutians, and South Sudanese heads of state, but they need to be backed up by serious external pressure, particularly by two key players: Saudi Arabia and the U.S.,” he said. “They have considerable access to the main actors. They might be able to move the needle and they might be able to encourage them to accept talks.”

Ruto said halting the fight will be a gesture of goodwill and will stop a descent into conflict, insecurity, instability, and humanitarian crisis.

On Friday, the Rapid Support Forces of Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire. The Sudanese Army general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan did not seem interested.

“That might suggest that the RSF is under some sort of military pressure,” Mutiga said. “But we have to remember that this is a very large force, very motivated force and one with a lot at stake. The armed forces seem determined to crush them militarily, but that is partly because they worry that a truce might allow the RSF to reinforce.”

Regardless, Mutiga said it is essential that the two parties move toward an agreement sooner rather than later because the suffering in Sudan has been horrific.


By Mariama Diallo

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