IGAD Names Special Envoy to Sudan

What’s Happening

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD, an east African trade bloc) has named a special envoy to Sudan as a part of the bloc’s bid to seek an end to the war in Sudan, which is rapidly approaching the one year mark.

Lawrence Korbandy, a South Sudanese lawyer, has been named as the envoy and is reportedly tasked with putting “an end to the multi-tiered nature of the crisis, that is, humanitarian, security, economy, social, political; engulfing the Sudan.”

“The Executive Secretary underscores IGAD’s commitment to addressing the Sudan crisis through diplomatic channels. Igad remains dedicated to supporting peaceful initiatives aimed at enhancing regional stability and fostering cooperation” -Excerpt from an IGAD statement

IGAD, of which Sudan is a member, has made a number of attempts to hold dialogue aimed at ending the war. However, previous attempts, and future attempts, are complicated by the fact that Sudan’s military government announced they were suspending cooperation with IGAD in January after accusing them of bias.

The accusation came after IGAD had invited representatives of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, who the Sudanese military government has been at war with since April of 2023, to meetings it was trying to hold on the war in Sudan. Sudan’s foreign ministry announced the suspension on January 16th while accusing them of “violating Sudan’s sovereignty.”

The naming of an IGAD special envoy for Sudan comes not long after the US announced it was hoping to restart peace talks aimed at ending the war some time after the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan on April 9th. While there is no date yet set for the talks, the talks will reportedly involve IGAD, as well as the AU, US, and a number of other international entities.

A Dire Situation

The war began in April of 2023 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) military government and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The war began due to disagreements on if/how the RSF should be integrated into the military, and power sharing agreements amidst the long process of transitioning into a civilian government.

Since then, several thousand people have been killed, and millions of people have been displaced. Sudan has become the worlds largest internal displacement crisis, and is threatening to also become the worlds largest hunger crisis, as malnutrition affecting millions threatens to turn into a famine.

Several different groups, Egypt, IGAD, the AU, as well as Saudi Arabia and the US have all made individual attempts at ending the war or at the very least holding dialogue between the two sides, efforts which have seen little success. There were a number of ceasefires/humanitarian pauses established during negotiations in the Saudi city of Jeddah, however they all broke soon after being established.

Both sides have given little attention to any peace efforts, and have been subject to escalating sanctions from the US and the EU.

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.


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