Foreign Minister Baerbock prior to her departure for Djibouti, Kenya and South Sudan

24.01.2024 - Press release

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock issued the following statement prior to her departure for East Africa (Djibouti, Kenya, South Sudan) on 24 January 2024:

The Sudan in 2019 was defined by hope and optimism after the fall of the war criminal al-Bashir. The Sudan in 2024 is defined by war and destruction. For more than nine months, two generals have been waging a ruthless power struggle at the expense of the civilian population. More than 12,000 deaths and around 7.5 million people displaced – that is the brutal result of this conflict. The images from Darfur in particular evoke grim recollections of the genocide that was committed there 20 years ago. The regional repercussions are enormous, too. Neighbouring countries, many of which are desperately poor, have taken in 1.5 million refugees from the Sudan in recent months. Germany is the second-largest donor helping to provide these people with what they need to survive.

The countries of the region as well as the regional organisation IGAD and the African Union have a key role to play in international attempts at mediation. With my dialogue partners in Djibouti, Kenya and South Sudan, I want to explore ways to finally bring the generals Burhan and Hemedti to the negotiating table so that they do not continue to drag the people of the Sudan into the abyss and destabilise the region. To me, it is clear that we must increase the pressure on both sides – through sanctions, through accountability for their crimes against the civilian population and by engaging with their supporters from abroad.

The Sudan will only find lasting peace with a democratic civilian government. I will thus also be meeting with members of Sudanese civil society. Because as bleak as the situation there might currently seem, the brave young people – women front and centre – who took to the streets in 2019 for peaceful change and greater participation in society stand for a better future for the country. We owe it to them not to let this conflict become a “forgotten crisis”.

In Djibouti, one topic of my meetings will be how we can protect international shipping in the Red Sea from the Houthis’ attacks. Djibouti lies in direct proximity to Yemen, and the two countries have traditionally enjoyed close relations. Between them runs one of the central arteries of international trade, the Bab al-Mandab strait, just 27 kilometres wide. It is in our shared interest to guarantee the safety of shipping through what is a bottleneck for the global economy.


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