Roundup: IGAD's quartet committee fails to bring Sudanese warring parties to negotiating table

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KHARTOUM, July 10 (Xinhua) -- A meeting for a quartet committee of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African bloc, on Monday failed to bring together the two parties to the Sudanese conflict to a negotiating table in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The Sudanese army delegation boycotted the meeting in protest against Kenya's chairmanship of the quartet committee, which also include Ethiopia, Djibouti and South Sudan.

"After its arrival in Addis Ababa, the government delegation was surprised that the quartet chairmanship had not been changed," Sudan's foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The Sudanese government has been calling for a change in the committee's chairmanship since the IGAD summit in Djibouti in June, citing Kenyan President William Ruto's lack of "impartiality" in the ongoing crisis, according to the statement.

In a communique issued at the end of the one-day meeting, which was attended by Ruto and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, the Heads of State and Government of the IGAD Quartet Group of Countries urged the Sudanese warring parties to agree on an "unconditional and indefinite" ceasefire.

The communique expressed deep concern about the devastating consequences of the ongoing conflict in Sudan and appreciated "the neighboring states of the Republic of Sudan that have opened their borders to protect our Sudanese brothers and sisters," emphasizing that there can be no military solution to the Sudanese conflict.

The communique acknowledged the ongoing efforts of the United Nations, as well as countries such as the United States and Saudi Arabia, with whom the IGAD quartet shares an equal commitment to the cause of peace in Sudan.

The IGAD quartet decided to request the convening of the East Africa Standby Force (EASF) summit to consider the possible deployment of the EASF to protect civilians and ensure humanitarian access, as stated in the communique.

Meanwhile, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) welcomed the meeting of the IGAD quartet committee in Addis Ababa.

"The participation of our delegation in the Addis Ababa meeting was based on the belief in the need for reaching a peaceful solution to end the war," the RSF said in a statement.

The RSF statement condemned the boycott of the meeting by the Sudanese army delegation, considering it evidence of its desire to prolong the war.

At the 14th ordinary session of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Djibouti on June 12, an initiative was adopted, including a roadmap for resolving the Sudanese conflict.

The roadmap outlined the establishment of a quartet committee chaired by Kenya to oversee the Sudanese issue, organize face-to-face meetings between the Sudanese warring factions, and initiate an inclusive process toward a political settlement within three weeks.

Sudan has been witnessing deadly clashes between the Sudanese army and the RSF in Khartoum and other areas since April 15, resulting in over 3,000 deaths and more than 6,000 injuries, according to figures released by the Sudanese Health Ministry. Enditem

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