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IGAD Names South Sudanese Special Envoy for Sudan

IGAD Names South Sudanese Special Envoy for Sudan
IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu during a past event. Image courtesy.

On Tuesday, regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) announced the appointment of Lawrence Korbandy, a South Sudanese lawyer, as Special Envoy for Sudan.

A dispatch from the body said Korbandy will provide “pivotal good offices” to engage with warring parties and help seek common ground for factions in Sudan, including guiding the bloc on the way forward.

One aspect of his role will involve “working towards resolving the multi-faceted crisis, including humanitarian, security, economic, social, and political aspects, affecting Sudan.”

Additionally, he will assist in establishing “a strong coordination mechanism, both within South Sudan and across the region, dedicated to resolving the conflict in Sudan”.

The creation of this position was agreed upon in December last year in Djibouti, following a request from Khartoum to terminate Kenyan President Ruto’s mediation role.

Regional leaders decided to dissolve the quartet of countries led by Kenyan leader and instead appoint a special envoy to address the conflict.

Interestingly, South Sudan had been lobbying for the mediation role, after it’s leader Salva Kiir, who initially led the process, was elbowed by President Ruto when he took over as the leader of the quartet.

Juba’s top diplomat James Pitia Morgan hinted in November last year that his country was ready to mediate Sudan’s chaos, but only if IGAD gave the nod.

Addressing the fourth estate in Juba, Morgan at the time said President Kiir is capable of mediating the talks as he has been a member of the Sudanese Armed Forces, as well as the first vice president of Sudan, and that the Sudanese people know him as one of their leaders before the secession of South Sudan.

“It was South Sudan that was able to solve the issue of Darfur through the Juba Peace Agreement which was mediated by President Kiir himself. So, what is the difference between the ongoing crisis in Sudan and the one in Darfur?” asked the foreign minister

He added; “If President Kiir was able to solve that issue of Darfur, he still stands as the right person to solve the ongoing crisis in Sudan”.

The rhetoric was a pointed dig at Kenya according to foreign policy pundits.

And when Ruto’s mediation lead role was ended, it was South Sudan’s foreign minister who grabbed the mic first, announcing that IGAD had benched the quartet and tossed the peace mediation hot potato back to the regional bloc and the African Union.

The regional clique last December fumbled the explicit communication about Ruto’s mediation axing, perhaps to save face for the Kenyan leader.

Nairobi responded with vague statements, and Ruto’s PR squad kept their boss’s social media channels on mute.

Quizzed about IGAD giving the quartet the boot, Kenyan Foreign PS Korir Sing’oei said “the IGAD quartet, having submitted its report, has discharged its mandate, and the assembly adopted the report whose basis formed several recommendations at the extraordinary summit”.


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