February 1, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s foreign minister, Ali Karti, said that his country is most qualified for mediating between the conflicting parties in South Sudan and that Khartoum had taken on the role through the initiative of the East African bloc, Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
- Sudanese foreign minister Ali Ahmed Karti says his country should play a key role in mediating the conflict in South Sudan (Photo: Getty))
Fighting began on 15 December between forces loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar and the South Sudanese army in support of president Salva Kiir, following weeks of tension within the young nation’s ruling party (SPLM).
Karti made the statements following the arrival of the Sudanese delegation, headed by president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where they were attending the 22nd African Union (AU) summit, which focused on urgent issues currently facing the continent, particularly the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.
He noted the IGAD’s heads of states had discussed the South Sudanese conflict in detail at the meeting, as well as the outcome of negotiations between the warring parties which was held under the auspices of IGAD represented by Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
“There exists a cessation of hostilities agreement and there are observers on the ground to ensure implementation of the agreement, and Sudan has observers among them”, he added
The South Sudanese government and the rebel delegation signed a ceasefire deal in Addis Ababa on 23 January, but the two sides have since traded accusations over violations of the agreement.
The deal, received with caution from citizens, is supposed to halt military engagements between the two warring parties and pave way for discussions about the root cause of the conflict, which has displaced more than half a million people and claimed between 1,000 and 10,000 lives, according to different estimates.
Sudan is represented in the AU mediation team by Mohamed Ahmed al-Dabi, along with the Kenyan, Lazarus Sumbeiywo, and Ethiopia’s Seyoum Mesfin.
The Sudanese foreign minister further said warring parties would resume meetings on February 7th to approve a final ceasefire, affirming IGAD’s ministerial meeting raised some observations on the crisis particularly resorting to tribalism by some fighters.
He reiterated IGAD’s keenness to follow developments of South Sudan’s crisis on daily basis, saying Sudan is the country most qualified for playing the role of the successful mediator between the conflicting parties due to its historic and strong ties with South Sudan.
“Sudan decided to play that role from within IGAD through its representative Mohamed Ahmed Al-Dabi”, he added
Karti called upon conflicting parties to cease fire and halt propaganda campaigns and open safe corridors for humanitarian assistance until they achieve permanent peace.