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Kenya’s President Ruto, Sudan Leader Abdel Burhan Bury Hatchet, Agree to Support Sudan Peace Talks

President William Ruto of Kenya and Sudanese leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan reached an agreement to endorse the Jeddah peace process aimed at resolving the conflict in Sudan, reports The East African.

This development marked a substantial easing of tensions between the two leaders and demonstrated a shared commitment to promoting peace in the region.

The resolution was reached during a meeting between the two leaders in Nairobi, with the specific details only being disclosed by diplomatic sources on November 13, 2023.

Burhan’s trip to Nairobi came after a series of back channels between the two capitals, as well as a brief meeting between President Ruto and Burhan on the sidelines of the Saudi-African Summit in Riyadh last week.

According to a dispatch from State House, the summit will also “agree on a framework for an all-inclusive Sudanese dialogue”.

The declaration represents a potential win for both leaders. For Ruto, it indicates a reconciliation with Burhan, who had previously publicly mocked Ruto and threatened to withdraw from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). IGAD is an  eight-country trade bloc in Africa, that includes governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley and the African Great Lakes. , the .

For Burhan, it signifies recognition as the legitimate leader of Sudan, despite remaining in power following a coup and facing challenges in the transitional process since the removal of former leader Omar al-Bashir.

Since the outbreak of the war between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), rival factions of the military government of Sudan on April 15, 2023, with fighting concentrated around the capital city of Khartoum and the Darfur region, Burhan has undertaken diplomatic visits to all neighbouring countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. Additionally, he addressed the UN General Assembly, pledging a transition of power to civilian rule when the conflict ends.

Despite these efforts, he faces challenges from those who considered  his opponent, Mohamed Hamdani Daglo Hemedti as his equal.

Various peace initiatives emerged during the conflict, with IGAD pursuing a parallel peace effort involving Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Djibouti. However, Khartoum rejected this quartet, particularly after South Sudan was excluded from the initial mediation role.

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