Kenya: Ruto Discusses Sudan Conflict With German Foreign Minister at Sagana

Nairobi — President William Ruto has held talks with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock amid intensified global efforts for the resolution of the conflict in Sudan.

State House Press Office said the meeting at the Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri on Thursday evening discussed “regional security especially the conflict in Sudan”.

Thursday’s meeting came days after similar high-level visits to Nairobi focused on regional security particularly the conflict between two warring Generals.

On January 15, Ruto held consultations with United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Burns and later hosted Ramatane Lamamra, Secretary Special Envoy of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the Sudan.

Following the meeting with Manamra, Ruto welcomed Guterres’ commitment “to support the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) initiative seeking to resolve the war – conflict in Sudan”.

“The end of the war is good for Sudan, the Sudanese people, our region, and international peace and security,” he said.

Nairobi later hosted the United States AFRICOM Commander Michael Langley who held talks with Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale and Chief of Defence Forces Gen Francis Ogolla at the Ministry of Defence on January 23.

The high-profile engagements followed a commitment in December 2023 when Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) Commander General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo ‘Hemetti’ and his archrival, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council of Sudan committed to face-to-face dialogue.

IGAD announced the commitment by the two leaders on December 11, 2023 as part of the outcomes of the bloc’s 41st Extraordinary Assembly convened by President Ismail Omar Guelleh in Djibouti.

IGAD commended Hemetti’s acceptance to “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.”

During the session Hemetti, who deputized al-Burhan in the Transitional Sovereignty Council of Sudan before a fallout in April following an attempt to dissolve the RSF, called for an all-inclusive process that provides equal representation to both the RSF, SAF and civilian groups.

Hemitti demands

He however cautioned against the inclusion of what he called remnants of President Omar al Bashir’s regime ousted in 2019.

“Participation must essentially include forces that have countered and overthrow the ideological leaders of Al-Bashir’s regime, whether those forces are in the center or parties, primarily political parties, professionals, resistance committees, community forces, youth, and women,” Hemetti stated.

“Such participation must not include the National Congress Party and its façades and elements, who have been working to obstruct democratic transition, including instigating the current war,” he asserted.

The RSF leader further called for the inclusion of marginalized groups and rooted for a federal system of governance as part of the talks.

“There must be equitable representation of the Sudan’s parties, particularly marginalized areas, which have suffered greatly and long from the consequences of war.”

International pressure

Hemetti’s commitment on Saturday followed weeks of negotiations that saw President William Ruto, Chair of an IGAD Quartet tasked to lead the process, hold separate talks with the two generals and Sudanese civilian leaders.

The RSF leader expressed his commitment to IGAD-supported Jeddah talks co-led by Saudi Arabia and the United States in a phone called with Ruto on November 24.

The concession came amid international pressure for cessation of hostilities against civilian populations.

The United States, United Kingdom and Norway singled out attacks by Hemetti-led RSF in West, Central and South Darfur in a joint statement on November 17.

President Ruto had on November 13, when he met al-Burhan, called for an urgent need to find a lasting solution entailing an accelerated process to achieve cessation of hostilities.

Subsequently, Ruto hosted Abdalla Hamdok, Prime Minister of a civilian authority replaced by General al-Burhan, on November 16, reiterating the call.

Ruto also hosted Sudan Liberation Movement Abdulwahid Al- Nur in Nairobi on January 23. Nur committed to the IGAD-led process.

Until the latest round of talks, IGAD-led mediation faced hurdles after al-Burhan protested Nairobi’s leadership of the process.

Sudan’s Foreign Office contested Kenya’s characterization of the conflict as “fighting between two generals,” signaling its refusal to formally recognize Hemetti, scuttling plans by the IGAD quartet of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and South Sudan to convene talks in August.

“Sudan is not concerned with the outcome of the meeting, because it is still waiting for a response from the IGAD regarding Sudan’s objection to Kenya’s chairmanship of the quartet committee,” Sudan’s MFA said in June.

“The way in which the Kenyan government deals with the mediation file contradicts with the basic principles of the IGAD, represented in respecting the sovereignty of states,” the ministry said at the time.

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