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News: After rejecting external initiatives to resolve Sudan crisis, Eritrea’s leader departs to Cairo to attend Sudan summit

President Isaias Afwerki departing to Cairo. Photo: Yemane G/Meskel

Addis Abeba – Days after rejecting international and regional initiatives to resolve the ongoing war in Sudan, Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki is headed to Cario, Egypt to attend summit of Sudan’s neighbors set to kick start on 13 July. 

“On the invitation of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President Isaias Afwerki has departed to Egypt in mid-morning hours today to attend the Summit of Leaders of the neighboring countries of Sudan,” Yemane Gebre Meskel, Eritrea’s Minister of Information tweeted. The presidential delegation includes Eritrea’s Foreign Minister Osman Saleh & Presidential Adviser Yeane Gebreab.

President Isaias’ trip to Cairo came shortly after he has rejected both international and regional initiatives to resolve the conflict in Sudan during a weekend meeting with the Sudanese Vice-President of the Sovereignty Council, Malik Agar.

“The Eritrean president told me (…) that the ongoing initiatives are political bazaars in which Eritrea cannot engage in, emphasizing that the situation in Sudan is an internal matter for Sudanese people and cautioning that external intervention would only exacerbate the complexities,” Sudan Tribune quoted Malik Agar as saying.

Egypt announced on Sunday that it was preparing to host a summit of Sudan’s neighbors on July 13 to discuss ways to “develop effective mechanisms” with neighboring states. The summit aims to resolve the three months war between Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and  the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which has “so far killed thousands of people, and displaced almost 3 million people including 2.2 million IDPs and nearly 615,000 refugees that have crossed the border into neighboring countries,” according to IGAD.

The Cairo summit is set to take place shortly after the Heads of State and Government of the IGAD Quartet Group of Countries met in Addis Abeba on Monday for a “Political Dialogue for the Peace and Stability of the Sudan.” The meeting has agreed, among others, “to request the East Africa Standby Force (EASF) summit to convene in order to consider the possible deployment of the EASF for the protection of civilians and guarantee humanitarian access.”

But Sudanese Foreign Ministry has rejected the proposal and said it will consider the deployment of EASF as “enemy forces.”

“The disrespect of IGAD towards the opinions of its member states will cause the Sudanese government to rethink the utility of its membership in the organization,” the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, adding “the Sudanese government rejects the deployment of foreign forces in Sudan and will consider them enemy forces.”

IGAD’s meeting itself was not attended by the Chairman of the Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, whereas a representative of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo “Hemetti,” the leader of the Rapid Support Forces, delivered a speech.

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry said that al-Burhan will boycott the meeting citing Kenya’s chairmanship of the Crisis Resolution Committee. Sudan accused President William Ruto of having close ties with RSF. “It is natural for Burhan to decline the invitation to the summit. Sudan is not interested in any proposal from IGAD under Kenya’s chairmanship of the committee to address the crisis,” Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman told local media. President William denies the accusations AS

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