Türkiye, Ethiopia seek to mediate peace in Sudan conflict
Türkiye’s Foreign Ministry announced Monday that Deputy Foreign Minister Burak Akçapar is heading to Ethiopia for a four-day working visit to discuss a permanent solution to the violent conflict in Sudan as evacuations of foreign nationals through the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa continue.
Akçapar will hold talks with both Ethiopian and African Union officials to discuss the repatriation of Turkish citizens in conflict-torn Sudan, as well as bilateral relations and regional developments will be addressed, a ministry statement said.
Last Friday, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu touted Akçapar’s “expertise in mediation” as he confirmed the visit and assured Türkiye and Ethiopia would work together to act as mediators to find a solution to the conflict as part of efforts launched by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
During Akçapar’s meetings with African Union authorities, decisions taken at the third Türkiye-Africa Partnership Summit in 2021 and the progress in joint projects will also be reviewed.
Opportunities for cooperation with the African Union in efforts to establish peace and stability in the continent will also be discussed, according to the statement.
At least 528 people have been killed and more than 4,500 injured in clashes between Sudan’s army and paramilitaries since April 15, when the conflict began, according to the Sudanese Health Ministry.
Turkish authorities have been evacuating Turkish nationals and others out of the country, typically using neighboring Ethiopia as a stopover on the way home.
The National Defense Ministry on early Monday reported 124 more nationals were extracted from Sudan, adding to the 1,834 people, 249 of whom are citizens of 19 other countries, evacuated from the conflict zone so far.
A C-130 aircraft of the Turkish Air Forces brought Turkish civilians to the capital Ankara safely, the ministry said in a post on Twitter, along with a video clip showing people embarking on the plane.
Violent clashes in Sudan have entered their third week, but the disagreement had been fomenting, especially in recent months, between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) regarding the latter’s integration into the armed forces, a critical condition of Sudan’s transition agreement with political groups.
Sudan has been without a functioning government since October 2021, when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and declared a state of emergency in a move decried by political forces as a “coup.”
Sudan’s transitional period, which started in August 2019 after the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir, was scheduled to end with elections in early 2024.
Airstrikes and gunfire continue in Khartoum, according to media reports and eyewitnesses.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on both sides to end the conflict and return to negotiations. In a phone call with U.N. Secretary-General Antoni Guterres, he expressed Ankara’s readiness to cooperate with the world body or host peace talks to end the crisis.