Kenya has announced the closure of its embassy in Khartoum due to escalating violence and safety risks faced by its diplomats. The decision signals a potential setback for further evacuation efforts and hints at the deteriorating situation in the Sudan war.
Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Sing’oei stated on Monday that armed groups in Khartoum were targeting diplomatic officials, necessitating the closure of the embassy. This move contradicts Kenya’s initial policy of remaining in the country to facilitate peace negotiations.
Since the outbreak of the war on April 15, Kenya had previously aided in rescuing approximately 900 Kenyan nationals and others stranded in Khartoum.
Initially, the embassy had remained open to maintain contact with the warring parties, namely the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). However, the recent closure reflects both the escalating violence in Khartoum and the failure to secure a lasting ceasefire.
Despite multiple ceasefire agreements between the SAF and their rival, led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Daglo Hemedti, respectively, the fighting has persisted. According to UN agencies, the conflict has resulted in over 1,000 casualties and displaced more than 800,000 individuals, both internally and to neighboring countries.
The Jeddah Talks, a mediation project involving Saudi Arabia and the US, was suspended last week after the parties were labeled as unserious about ending the war. However, mediators in Jeddah have expressed their continued engagement with the parties to explore possibilities for resuming the talks.
Discussions primarily focus on facilitating humanitarian aid and reaching agreements on immediate steps that the parties must take before the formal talks recommence.
The involvement of Saudi Arabia was seen as crucial in resolving the conflict, but the failure of the ceasefire and ongoing fighting indicate potential breakdowns in command structures.
Kenya’s Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Cabinet Secretary, Alfred Mutua, previously pointed to unnamed Middle Eastern countries taking sides and exacerbating the war.
As the situation in Sudan remains volatile, the closure of Kenya’s embassy in Khartoum underscores the challenges faced by diplomatic efforts and the urgent need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.