Diplomacy: Baerbock: Five-point initiative for mediation in Sudan

Diplomacy: Baerbock: Five-point initiative for mediation in Sudan

In addition to the Gaza war and the Russian attack on Ukraine, the bloody conflict in Sudan has been somewhat overlooked. Foreign Minister Baerbock wants to set an example in the region.

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wants to revive stalled mediation efforts in the bloody power struggle in Sudan with a five-point initiative.

“In Sudan, multiple crises have been layered on top of each other for decades and are exacerbated by the climate crisis,” said the Green politician on Thursday evening after a meeting with Kenyan President William Ruto in his country estate Sagana near Mount Kenya, the highest mountain at over 5,000 meters of the country.

The Federal Foreign Minister said she discussed with Ruto “how we can further increase the pressure on the two parties to the conflict in order to end this terrible war.” At the end of her visit to East Africa, Baerbock wants to get an idea of ​​the dramatic humanitarian situation in the region today in a refugee settlement in South Sudan.

7.5 million refugees in Sudan crisis

In Sudan, de facto head of state Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy and leader of the Sudanese militia Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, have been fighting for power since mid-April 2023. According to the UN, almost 7.5 million people have fled since the conflict began. International efforts to reach a ceasefire have so far been unsuccessful.

After the meeting with the Kenyan President, Baerbock said that several points were now central to her. International mediation must be coordinated more closely than before. In addition, civilian Sudanese actors in exile and in their homeland must be supported. In order to prevent the collapse of Sudan from plunging the entire region into chaos, external military support for the parties to the conflict must be stopped.

Baerbock: Sudan’s war is also a war against women

“Diplomatic pressure alone is not enough,” said Baerbock. “Targeted sanctions are needed to increase the pressure on the parties to the conflict.” In addition, “a glaring light must be cast on the terrible crimes” committed by the two warring parties. “The feeling that no one is looking anyway creates a climate of impunity and thus further increases atrocities.”

The United Nations assumed that millions of women had become victims of the most brutal sexual violence – not by chance, but through systematic action as a method of war, said Baerbock. “The Sudan war is also a war against women in Sudan.” There will only be sustainable peace “when the Sudanese civilian population and especially the women and not the military have a say in the country’s future.”

Visit to the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan

Today Baerbock wanted to fly to Juba, the capital of South Sudan. There she wants to discuss the situation with representatives of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (Unmiss). It was only on Wednesday that the Federal Cabinet voted to extend Germany’s participation in Unmiss – the Bundestag still has to agree.

The UN mission currently consists of around 13,000 blue helmet soldiers from 73 countries, around 1,500 police officers and around 2,600 civilians. Among other things, they should ensure the protection of returning refugees. There are currently 14 German soldiers involved. They serve on mission command staff and as military observers.

Around 10,000 refugees live in Gorom

Refugees from Ethiopia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others, have been living for years in the Gorom refugee settlement, which Baerbock then wanted to visit, about 20 kilometers west of the capital Juba. Gorom was set up for around 3,000 people, but in December it housed around 10,000 refugees. The South Sudanese government recently announced that it would ask the international community and aid organizations for a total of 1.8 billion US dollars to support people who have fled Sudan.

One of the most fragile countries in the world

Separate talks between the minister and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Riek Machar were also planned for the afternoon. According to the federal government, South Sudan is one of the most fragile countries in the world with a dramatic humanitarian situation. A transitional government of national unity led by Mayardit and his long-time conflict opponent Machar has been in office in the country since February 2020. The first elections since independence in 2011 are scheduled for December 2024.

On the way back to Germany, Baerbock wants to make a short detour to Jordan in connection with the mediation efforts in the Gaza war. Baerbock will “continue to travel to Jordan following her East Africa trip and hold political discussions on the Middle East crisis there on Saturday,” according to sources in the Foreign Minister’s delegation.

Source: Stern

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