Baerbock: Increase pressure on generals in the Sudanese power struggle

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called for increased efforts to find a negotiated solution in view of the bloody power struggle in Sudan.

Baerbock: Increase pressure on generals in the Sudanese power struggle

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called for increased efforts to find a negotiated solution in view of the bloody power struggle in Sudan. With her conversation partners in East Africa, she wanted to explore options to "finally get the two generals, who are enemies in Sudan, at the negotiating table so that they don't drag the people of Sudan further into the abyss and destabilize the region any further," the Green politician said a visit to Djibouti, Kenya and South Sudan.

In Sudan, de facto head of state Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy and leader of the Sudanese militia Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, known as "Hemedti", have been fighting for power since mid-April 2023. According to the UN, almost 7.5 million people have fled since the conflict began.

Baerbock demanded: "We have to increase the pressure on both sides - through sanctions, through accountability for their crimes against the civilian population and through influencing their supporters from abroad." The states in the region as well as the regional organization IGAD and the African Union play a central role in international mediation efforts.

Meeting with Foreign Minister Yussef in Djibouti

First of all, Baerbock is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Mahamud Ali Yussuf in Djibouti in the afternoon. She then wants to speak to the Executive Director of the IGAD international community, Workneh Gebeyehu. In addition to Djibouti, the community includes Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. Sudan has currently suspended its membership. The group is seeking direct talks for a ceasefire in Sudan.

In 2019, there was hope and confidence after the fall of the “war criminal” and long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir, said Baerbock. Now there was war and destruction in Sudan. “Over 12,000 deaths and around 7.5 million displaced people are the brutal result of this conflict,” she added. The regional effects are also enormous: the often desperately poor neighboring countries have taken in 1.5 million refugees from Sudan in the past few months. As the second largest donor, Germany is helping to support these people with what they need.

Welthungerhilfe Sudan: Crisis must not be forgotten

In view of Baerbock's trip, Welthungerhilfe's Sudan country director, Hashim Bilal, pointed out the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Sudan that has been going on for months. "Sudan is now the country with the most displaced people in the world, half of whom are children," he said. The conflict must not be forgotten. Welthungerhilfe supports more than 350,000 people in various regions of the country. The United Nations is budgeting $2.7 billion to provide humanitarian aid to 14.7 million people in Sudan this year.

Planned EU military operation against Houthi attacks

Baerbock's talks in Djibouti will also focus on the security of sea routes in the Red Sea. The Bab al Manda Strait, which is only 27 kilometers wide and is one of the central arteries of the international trade system, runs between Djibouti and Yemen, said the Federal Foreign Minister. “It is in our shared interest to ensure the safety of maritime shipping in this bottleneck of the global economy.”

The Iranian-backed militant Islamist Houthi militia in Yemen wants to force an end to Israel's attacks in the Gaza Strip by shelling ships, which followed the unprecedented massacre by the Islamist Hamas in Israel on October 7th. The USA and Great Britain recently attacked militia positions in Yemen with the support of other allies.

On Monday, the EU states reached a political agreement in principle to start a military operation to secure merchant shipping there. According to diplomats, the mission is scheduled to start in February and end attacks by the militant Islamist Houthis from Yemen. According to information from government circles, Germany wants to participate with the frigate “Hessen” - provided that the Bundestag issues a corresponding mandate after the EU planning has been completed.

Djibouti - small state in a strategically important position

With an area of ​​23,200 square kilometers and almost a million inhabitants, Djibouti is one of the smallest states in Africa. However, due to its location on the Red Sea, it has an important strategic position as a bridge between Africa and the Middle East on one of the major shipping routes. Several countries, especially the former colonial power France, have naval bases here. The largest US military base in Africa is also in Djibouti.