December 9, 2023 (KHARTOUM) – IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu announced that Sudanese Sovereign Council Chairman Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) leader Mohamed Hamdan Daglo have agreed to sign a cessation of hostilities agreement.
This significant breakthrough was achieved at the 41st Extraordinary Session of the IGAD Assembly in Djibouti, which was hosted by President Ismail Guelleh.
“The Assembly successfully secured a commitment from the Sudanese belligerents to promptly convene and agree upon a cessation of hostilities,” Gebeyehu stated. “This is a crucial step in addressing the aspirations of the Sudanese people.”
The official Djibouti news agency reported that RSF leader Daglo accepted a ceasefire after a telephone call with President Guelleh. Additionally, the two key figures in the Sudanese crisis agreed to meet within 15 days to discuss confidence-building measures and pave the way for a political process.
Sources indicated that the summit involved heated discussions between al-Burhan and several leaders. It also saw significant efforts by IGAD leaders to convince al-Burhan to accept meeting Daglo.
In his address to the Extraordinary Assembly, al-Burhan emphasized that any political settlement must involve the evacuation of civilian facilities and homes. He reiterated his demand to relocate RSF combatants to designated cantonment sites that are mutually agreed upon.
Al-Burhan also called for a comprehensive political process to achieve a national agreement on the transitional period and general elections. He concluded his remarks by stressing the need to safeguard Sudan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, uphold the principles of a single army, and ensure accountability. He emphasized that political power should only be attained through elections, not through rebellion.
In response, RSF leader Daglo sent a letter to the IGAD Chair outlining his conditions for a political process. Hemetti stipulated that confidence-building measures, including the re-arrest of fleeing former regime leaders, must be implemented first.
The letter, which was released on social media pages and groups associated with the paramilitary group, proposed an initial 30-day ceasefire agreement with an option for renewal. A permanent ceasefire, according to Daglo, would be contingent upon reaching a final political agreement.
Moreover, Daglo underscored that the political process should exclude the National Congress Party, the former ruling party under President Omer al-Bashir, and its affiliated parties and members who have obstructed the democratic transition.
The IGAD-facilitated agreement to cease hostilities marks a significant step towards a peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict in Sudan. However, ongoing disagreements regarding the terms of a political process highlight the challenges that lie ahead.