Kenya says the involvement of Russia and Gulf countries in Sudan’s politics is affecting peace efforts, raising concerns that only the African Union (AU) expressed in vague terms last week.
Speaking at a press conference in the United States hosted by Antony Blinken, Kenyan Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua said foreign intervention has made it difficult to achieve lasting peace in Sudan, expressing similar sentiments to the AU last week. But the senior Kenyan diplomat pointed the finger at Russia and some Gulf countries for taking sides as the continent pursues the return of civilian rule in Sudan.
Dr. Mutua is in the United States to discuss the US-Kenya Strategic Partnership, an agreement intended to guide how future commercial and economic relations with the United States will be, including meeting needs in conservation and climate change.
But Sudan, where security groups have been fighting for nine days, has become the subject of urgent debate.
“More Shots Coming”
“It is very sad that we have more balls entering Sudan or being used in Sudan than food. And that is a tragedy, because we see from where we sit the international interference, many other players are trying to use Sudan as a playground for whatever reason, for gold in Sudan , for regional power and regional control,” Mutua said during a meeting with Secretary of State Blinken.
“And we are trying to ask – we are asking the foreign forces to leave Sudan alone. As the African continent and the AU and the intergovernmental organization called Igad, we are trying to find a solution for Sudan.
Then Dr. Mutua was asked to clarify those remarks, especially if he had spoken directly to the country in question.
“We have been very concerned about some of our friends in the Middle East like (inaudible) Russia and others who have long been friends on one side or the other,” he added.
“And we’re just saying that at this time, now is not the time to take sides in war. It’s time to be able to come together and bring them together because at the end of the day, peace must prevail. So it doesn’t matter who you support; at the end of the day, we must ensure the stability of the people of Sudan.
The United States and other Western allies had accused Russian mercenaries of spreading instability across the continent. In Sudan, the Wagner group, sanctioned by the United States for fomenting instability, had long been suspected of involvement. But the group, a private military company founded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, dismissed the accusations last week.
In a message on the Telegram channel, the group said “we believe it is important to inform everyone that Wagner’s employees have not been in Sudan for more than two years.” He said that Mr. Prigozhin, also known as Putin’s leader, had no financial interests in Sudan.
Blinken, however, was more diplomatic, saying Washington had persuaded Gulf countries not to incite violence.
“It remains very important that countries use whatever positive influence they have to try to move Sudan in this direction,” he said.
“We are very concerned about the cooperation of the Prigozhin Group, the Wagner Group, in Sudan. It is in many different countries in Africa – an element that, when engaged, brings more death and destruction with it. And it is very important that [we do not] see the participation future wives in Sudan. And I know that several countries are very worried about this prospect.
Later on Monday, the warring parties; The Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Aid Forces, a militia unit, have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire.