Your Excellency Ms Pascale Baeriswyl, President of the UN Security Council;
Excellences members of the UN Security Council;
Ladies and gentlemen;
All protocols duly and respectfully observed;
Allow me to begin my statement by thanking this august body for convening yet another meeting on the situation on Sudan and inviting IGAD to brief you and share our views and perspectives. The Security Council’s continued engagement and follow up on developments in Sudan is much appreciated and needed.
Ladies and Gentleman;
IGAD welcomes the signing of an “Agreement on Short-Term Ceasefire and Humanitarian Arrangements in Sudan” between representatives of Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces on 20th May 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, brokered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America. This latest development is a commendable progress and makes us to be cautiously optimistic that a permanent cessation of hostilities is within reach.
As per the Agreement, the ceasefire will remain in effect for seven days effective from today 09:45p.m. Khartoum time, and is subject to extension based on the agreement of the parties. The Agreement is aimed at, among others, facilitating the delivery and distribution of humanitarian assistance, restoration of essential services and withdrawal of forces from hospitals and essential public services.
The fact that previous ceasefire agreements were violated almost instantaneously in the last five weeks may wane our hope and trust in the respect for the current ceasefire Agreement by the warring parties. However, it is noteworthy that unlike previous agreements, the parties have signed this Agreement and also it will be monitored by a US-Saudi-supported ceasefire monitoring mechanism. Irrespective of challenges that may be faced in its implementation, it is a progress worth capitalizing and building upon.
Ladies and gentlemen;
The five weeks of fighting has had a heavy toll on Sudan. Reports indicate that thus far more than 850 civilians have died and close to 4000 wounded. More than 750,00 people have been internally displaced and over 200,000 fled to neighboring countries mainly Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
The longer the fighting takes, the higher the toll would be. It will also further complicate and compound the crisis as new internal and external actors may be involved in the conflict. Most importantly shortage of food, medical facility, and service will exacerbate the situation.
Besides the people of Sudan, neighboring countries are also feeling the brunt of the war as they are hosting thousands of refugees, and these are countries who are either emerging out of conflicts or are facing serious economic and humanitarian crisis themselves. For instance, South Sudan which has close economic and social ties with Sudan has been impacted by the conflict as the price of goods has spiked and the purchasing power of the South Sudanese pound has weakened since the conflict broke out in Sudan.
It is due to the close historical, social and economic ties that IGAD Member States have with Sudan as well as the direct impact that the war is having on these countries as a result of their geographical proximity that IGAD has been actively working together with other partner organizations and states to secure ceasefire. Per the decision by the IGAD Heads of State and Government Summit of April 16, 2023, the High-Level IGAD delegation led by H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit has been engaging the warring parties on a daily basis and consulting and coordinating with regional and international actors. On 17th and 18th May, I was in Juba, South Sudan, to encourage H.E. President Salva Kiir on his commitment to lead IGAD’s efforts to resolve the crisis in Sudan and also exchange views on next steps to be taken to silence the guns in Sudan.
I call on the international community to support and complement these efforts in a coordinated manner.
Ladies and gentlemen;
Despite our limited capacities and resources, IGAD and its Member States are doing whatever is possible within our reach to support the people of Sudan. Neighboring Countries have also sent humanitarian assistance. Countries like Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Djibouti have also played a key role in the evacuation of staff and citizens of diplomatic missions and international organizations based in Sudan.
It is high time that the international community work closely and support these frontline countries to help them provide adequate and timely support to Sudanese refugees as well as in sending in much-needed humanitarian support to Sudan.
While I appreciate and commend the kingdom of Saudi Arabi and the United States of America for their relentless effort in facilitating the Jeddah Talks, I encourage them to involve and engage the Trilateral Mechanism as the entity entrusted by regional, continental and international community to facilitate the political process in Sudan.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
The only way we can stop the fighting in Sudan sooner rather than later is if our efforts are better coordinated and streamlined and our collective actions are swifter. We all have one purpose and goal in Sudan, to silence the guns and resume an inclusive Sudanese-led Sudanese-owned political process that will pave the way towards the formation of a civilian led transitional government. Let’s put our heads and hands together to support the Sudanese people’s quest for durable peace and democracy.
As the experience from the region shows particularly in Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan, chances of success are higher when efforts are coordinated and neighboring states are actively involved and engaged in finding solution.
I would like to end my remarks by reiterating IGAD’s unwavering commitment to continue working and coordinating closely with the United Nations and other continental and international actors towards achieving permanent ceasefire and resumption of an inclusive political process in Sudan.
I thank you for your attention!
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