Egypt’s El Sisi Launches Regional Effort to End Crisis in Sudan

The President of Egypt, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, has launched a major effect to end the raging conflict in Sudan between the National Army of Sudan and the paramilitary Rapid Security Force (RSF), that has led to 2.2 million Sudanese fleeing the country and over 3,000 deaths. Following the total failure of the various initiatives backed by the U.S., the U.K. and the European Union, Egypt convened the “Sudan’s Neighboring Counties Summit” on July 13, with a view to seeking an “African solution for African problems”. Participants included Chad’s President Idriss Déby, Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, in addition to the leader of the Central African Republic, the Secretary General of the Arab League and the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson.

Inaugurating the summit, President El-Sisi emphasized that the conflict in Sudan has implications for the security and stability of neighboring countries, the region, and the world. Since the conflict began, more than 220,000 Sudanese had crossed into Egypt, and the number is increasing every day.

In the 8 point statement issued, all participants express deep concern about the continued military operations and the severe deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in Sudan, and recognize that prolonging the crisis will result in an increasing number of refugees, overwhelming the capabilities of neighboring countries. They stress the importance of preserving the Sudanese state and its institutions, and preventing organized crime and terrorism. They also emphasized the full respect for Sudan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, rejecting any external intervention as the conflict is considered an internal matter.

There were no representatives at the meeting from the US. UK, or the European Union nor did any of these western powers release a statement acknowledging or welcoming the summit.

Important bilateral meetings were held on the sidelines of the Summit, notably between President El-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed where they discussed how to enhance bilateral relations between their two countries. It was announced that the two leaders had agreed to start negotiations on a final agreement on the issue of filling Ethiopia’s huge Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which has vexed bilateral relations between the two countries for several years.

The Sudan issue will be taken up at the Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum Summit for peace, security and development, to be held in St. Petersburg on July 27-28, at which Sudan will be represented by the Chairman of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council and Army Chief, general Abdelfattah al-Burhan.

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