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World warns of regional crisis due to Sudan war, Somalia-Ethiopia tensions

The African Union, European Union, and United States have called for an immediate ceasefire and constructive dialogue between warring factions in Sudan.

The groups also called for an end to tension between Somalia and Ethiopia over a controversial agreement signed between Ethiopia and Somalia’s breakaway region Somaliland.

Representatives of the groups, who spoke on Thursday in Kampala, Uganda, after the meeting of an East African regional bloc, said that the two crises are threatening regional stability in the Horn of Africa.

The AU, EU and US and UN noted that the fighting has displaced 7 million people and kept 19 million children out of school.

Michael Hammer, US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, called on Sudan’s factions to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law and to fulfill recent commitments to stop fighting.

“It’s time for them to take action consistent with their stated claims that they want to stop the fighting and meet the needs of the people,” Hammer said.

He spoke after the regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development, or IGAD, held an emergency meeting of heads of states in Kampala to discuss the Sudan war and rising tension between Somalia and Ethiopia.

“Guns must be silenced”

Hammer said Sudan’s army chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah al Burhan, and the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who is known as Hemetti, must follow through on their promise at a Dec. 9 IGAD summit to reach an unconditional ceasefire.

“They will be responsible for the break up of Sudan if this conflict continues,” Hammer said.

The first step is an enforceable ceasefire that can be closely monitored, said Ramtane Lamamra, the UN envoy for Sudan.

“Guns must be silenced,” he said, adding that the war endangers “stability of the entire region and beyond.”

Sudan’s armed forces and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces have been fighting for control of Sudan since April. Long-standing tensions erupted into street battles in the capital and other areas including the western Darfur region.

Fact-finding mission

Amid the renewed calls for a ceasefire, the United Nations announced on Thursday that the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan, which is charged with investigating violations of human rights and international humanitarian law since April 15, began its work this week.

The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council established the fact-finding mission in October 2023 with the aim of ensuring that those responsible for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law are brought to justice.

Dujarric said the mission will present an oral report on its initial findings at the council’s session that starts in June.

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