East African bloc calls for inclusive talks to end Sudan conflict
The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African bloc, has reiterated its call for a peaceful solution to a five-month-old conflict in Sudan.
Leaders of the IGAD Quartet Group of Countries, namely Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Djibouti, met on Wednesday evening in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. They called on the IGAD that has eight member states and the African Union to combine their efforts with the countries neighbouring Sudan as well as international stakeholders to support an inclusive platform for a peace process.
The meeting which brought together presidents of Kenya, Djibouti and South Sudan, and a representative of Ethiopia urged the IGAD and the AU to map the agenda and identify participants and other relevant matters in support of a political dialogue that clearly defines a Sudanese-owned and Sudanese-led political process.
"The quartet strongly condemns the ongoing war and calls upon the warring parties to immediately halt all hostilities and reiterates that there is no military solution to the conflict in Sudan," they said in a communique issued in Nairobi on Wednesday evening.
The leaders warned that the Sudan conflict is becoming increasingly complex and risks taking on a regional dimension with the entry and participation of other armed movements, in addition to the rapid proliferation of small arms and light weapons posing severe security, humanitarian and political risks for Sudan and the broader region.
According to the UN, more than one million refugees, returnees and third-country nationals have already fled Sudan to neighbouring countries.
The countries receiving people fleeing Sudan -- the Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan -- were hosting hundreds of thousands of displaced people even before this crisis.
The quartet leaders committed to mobilizing one million U.S. dollars from each IGAD member state for humanitarian assistance and to support the peace process in solidarity with the people of Sudan.
The leaders urged the international community, neighbouring countries and friends of Sudan to scale up and sustain support for humanitarian action for the people of Sudan and the peace process.
The UN refugee agency on Monday appealed for one billion dollars to provide essential aid and protection to over 1.8 million people expected to arrive in five neighbouring countries by the end of 2023, fleeing the ongoing conflict in Sudan.