| 1 October 2023, Sunday |

Severe diplomatic crisis between Khartoum, African Union

A severe diplomatic crisis erupted between the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the African Union, following a meeting held by the current president of the African Commission with an official from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which Khartoum considered a dangerous precedent, accusing the Commission of double standards.

Advisor to the RSF, Youssef Ezzat, announced on Sunday on the X platform (formerly Twitter) that he met with the chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, in Addis Ababa, in the presence of his office director, Mohamed Al-Hassan Ould Labat.

In a statement on Monday, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry denounced the meeting, describing it as a “dangerous precedent” in the work of the union… and tantamount to granting armed rebel movements and militias a legitimacy that they do not deserve.
The ministry added that the meeting is “a clear violation of the norms of the continental organization, and all international organizations, as groupings of sovereign states, in which there is no place for rebel movements and criminal terrorist militias.”

The African Union issued a sharp response on Friday, describing the Sudanese Foreign Ministry’s statement as “irresponsible.”

“The African Union will remain unperturbed in its decisive will to pool efforts with all its African and Arab brothers and with all our international partners to build, with determination and method, a political process, based on the relevant principles and decisions of the Organization,” read the statement, which was signed by Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt, spokesperson of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on Sudanese dossier.

Lebatt also said: “It should be recalled that this approach is in line with the Decisions and Recommendations of the AU Peace and Security Council, which requested the Chairperson of the Commission to intensify, to this end, his efforts with all parties without exception.”

He continued: “It should also be recalled that all the international actors trying to contribute to the solution of this crisis (for example, the Jeddah Process) adopted the same approach, without any Sudanese party expressing any reservation on the matter.”

The Sudanese Foreign Ministry responded to Ould Lebbat’s statement, saying that he used inappropriate and hateful expressions. It added that some of the decisions of the Office of the President of the Commission are characterized by double standards and inconsistency, and serve an agenda that does not represent the interests of the continent.

In a statement on Thursday, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry threatened to consider Sudan’s continued membership in the Intergovernmental Development Organization (IGAD), in protest against a statement issued by the heads of the member states of the organization, which adhered to Kenya’s presidency of the Quartet Committee to solve the Sudanese crisis.

The ministry renewed its accusation that Kenya was biased and hosted the leaders of the “rebel” Rapid Support Forces, expressing regret that the statement did not contain any reference to the Government of Sudan, and the need to consult with it and obtain its approval in the steps that IGAD intends to take regarding the crisis.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat