President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni chaired a virtual meeting of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council Heads of State and Government on Friday, at State Lodge, Nakasero.

As the current Chairperson of the AU Peace and Security Council for June 2024, President Museveni led discussions focusing on the ongoing conflict in Sudan and the exploration of coordinated efforts among regional and international partners to achieve peace and stability for the Sudanese people.

President Museveni attributed the prolonged conflict in Sudan to ideological errors by the country’s leaders. “It is now 70 years since our neighboring country, part of this region, has been at war almost continuously due to certain mistakes. These include the politics of identity Africans versus Arabs, Muslims versus Christians which has fueled the conflict. We’ve often discussed these issues with Sudanese leaders, like Gen. Bashir. Similar problems have arisen in other parts of Africa, including Uganda, where identity politics overshadow the people’s interests,” he stated.

He further identified the use of force over dialogue and the deployment of undisciplined, ideologically misguided armed forces as critical errors. “Even if it’s a war, it need not affect the entire population unless the conflict managers are making grave mistakes. The war crimes we see are a result of these errors. I’m pleased that the Security Council and others attending are urging the Sudanese factions to cease hostilities, engage in dialogue, and allow the Sudanese people to choose their leaders.”

Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, emphasized the need for a ceasefire. “The African Union has been engaging all parties in the conflict to facilitate the peace process. Protecting human rights and adhering to international humanitarian law are possible only through national reconciliation. We call for strengthened international solidarity to ensure a democratic transition in Sudan leading to free and fair elections,” he said, commending President Museveni for his efforts in the peace process.

Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, IGAD Executive Secretary, stressed the importance of coordinated peace efforts. “We must prioritize the Sudanese people who have suffered immensely. IGAD remains committed to finding a path to peace for our Sudanese brothers and sisters, believing that despite the tragic year of war, there is still hope for a peaceful resolution.”

Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Chairperson of the African Union High-Level Panel on Sudan, highlighted the severe humanitarian crisis. “The conflict in Sudan is worse than that in Ukraine and Gaza. An unprecedented hunger crisis looms, with over two million people facing emergency levels of hunger.

In Zam Zam camp alone, 75 people die daily from hunger and disease. More than 15,000 fatalities have been recorded, and at least 10 million people have been displaced. These figures demand urgent action to end the conflict.”

The leaders called on the warring parties, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), to immediately cease fighting and prioritize Sudan’s interests and its people. They emphasized that only genuine dialogue can lead to a sustainable resolution and urged the AU Commission, in coordination with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, to investigate and recommend measures for civilian protection in Sudan.

A representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, also addressed the meeting.

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