Workneh Gebeyehu, the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), traveled to Khartoum in a bid to assist in resolving Sudan’s political crisis.
The goal of Gebeyehu’s travel to Khartoum was to discuss with Sudanese stakeholders the mediation they want to begin to end the current crisis.
In this context, he discussed the role of the East African bloc in resolving the Sudanese conflict with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the Transitional Sovereign Council (TSC). He also met with his deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the National Uma Party (NUP), and several political organizations.
“I met with the Chair of the TSC Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to assess developments in Sudan and the role IGAD would play towards negotiated solutions to the current political issue through constructive engagement,” he tweeted, following the meeting with the Sovereign Council’s leader.
Gebeyehu also told reporters after his meeting with Dagalo that he discussed with the Sudanese senior official “the best method to overcome the issues that the people of Sudan are facing.”
He went on to say that they would brief the African Union on the results of their Khartoum meetings and then initiate an IGAD-led initiative.
“IGAD will play a constructive and unbiased role in resolving the difficulties that the Sudanese people face,” he stated emphatically. Also, Ismail Wais, the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, was in Gebeyehu’s delegation, implying that he will be the main mediator in this process.
The international community, particularly the Troika and the EU, praised UNITAMS’ initiative to foster discussion between Sudanese parties. However, the African Union and IGAD remained silent on the UN initiative.
The African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) issued a statement on January 25, 2022, officially distancing itself from the UNITAMS idea.
The PSC “takes note of all international efforts aimed at finding a long-term solution to the current crisis in Sudan, including the UNITAMS initiative, and emphasizes the need for the African Union to coordinate international community efforts in Sudan in order to harmonize efforts aimed at resolving the crisis in Sudan.”
The Council also encouraged the African Union Commission Chairperson and IGAD to support Sudan throughout its transition.
In Khartoum, the IGAD Executive Secretary met with the UNITAMS head and the Troika envoys on Monday. “We affirmed our support to the Sudanese people’s efforts to find a comprehensive, long-term solution to the current political situation,” he said following the meeting in a separate tweet.
According to some reports, certain Forces for Freedom and Changes (FFC) organizations rebuffed Gebeyehu’s request for individual talks with coalition forces, preferring instead to meet with FFC units. Some political groupings saw the IGAD initiative as a ploy to derail the UNITAMS-led process.