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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan and AU trade accusations over RSF meeting

Ould Lebatt

African Union Envoy Mohamed el-Hacen Ould Lebatt

September 6, 2023 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese Foreign Ministry and an Advisor to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission responsible for Sudan-related matters have exchanged highly critical remarks regarding the Commission’s meeting with an envoy from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) last week.

Sudan vehemently protested a meeting that occurred on September 3 between Moussa Faki and RSF political advisor Youssif Izzat, aimed at exploring ways to address the Sudanese crisis. The foreign ministry raised concerns that the regional body had convened with a rebel group that was actively fighting against a founding member of the African Union.

Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt, the AU official responsible for Sudan’s file, released two statements in both Arabic and English in response to the Sudanese statement, using strong language to rebut the Sudanese stance.

The Arabic version of the statement issued on September 7th reads, “Some social networks have published a decadent text” about the meeting between Faki and the RSF advisor. But, the regional organization swiftly issued an updated version, replacing the word “decadent” with “cheap.”

Lebatt went further to speak about the “irresponsible content” of the Sudanese statement.

In response, the Sudanese foreign ministry promptly countered, expressing its “astonishment and strong disapproval” of the unprecedented tone adopted by Lebatt. The statement also said that this statement shows the “deteriorating standards” within the regional body.

“The derogatory language and offensive content of this response only confirms the observations made in our aforementioned statement,” stressed the Sudanese foreign ministry.

Sudanese commentators pointed out the perceived double standards in the African Union’s recent policies. They argue that the African Union did not impose sanctions following military coups in Gabon or Niger. Additionally, they note that the AU Chairperson did not engage with Tigray rebels during the recent conflict in western Ethiopia.

The military-led government had previously rejected African Union mediation efforts to resolve the conflict with RSF paramilitary forces. Instead, they requested the lifting of the suspension of Sudan’s membership, which was imposed following the October 25, 2021 coup d’état.

On September 6, the IGAD Quartet group leaders urged for the consolidation of their efforts with neighbouring countries of Sudan. They also appealed to international actors to endorse a unified, comprehensive platform led by IGAD and the African Union (AU).

Both organisations are now at odds with the Sudanese government