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Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Addresses African Union Peace and Security Council Meeting on the Situation in the Republic of Sudan, Calls for Immediate Response

State Lodge, Hill Station, Freetown, Friday 21 June 2024 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has addressed the African Union Peace and Security Council Heads of State and Government-Level virtual meeting on the situation in the Republic of Sudan, where he called on his colleagues for an immediate and unified response.

The meeting was organised under the leadership of His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of the African Union Peace and Security Council for June 2024, and His Excellency Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and Chairperson of the African Union.

President Julius Maada Bio, while congratulating the Chairperson on his assumption of the responsibility to direct the work of the African Union Peace and Security Council for June 2024, pledged his delegation’s unwavering support and cooperation throughout the tenure of the Chairperson.

The President thanked the Chairperson for convening the crucial meeting on the situation in Sudan, stressing that it was a grave concern to them all. He reminded the meeting that they spoke not just as leaders of their respective nations but as custodians of peace, stability, and Africa’s collective future.

“Sudan is facing profound challenges that demand our immediate and unified response. Excellencies, the situation in Sudan has reached a point of grave concern, igniting the world’s largest displacement and fastest unfolding crisis.

“The enduring conflict spanning over a year has inflicted untold suffering upon the Sudanese people, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of civilians have died and thousands more injured, while millions of Sudanese have been internally displaced or forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries,” President Bio reminded his colleague Heads of State and government.

As the global champion of education, the President informed the meeting of how a considerable number of Sudan’s population, including children, lacked access to health care and that many of them were missing out on education. He noted that equally concerning were the reports of sexual and gender-based violence being perpetrated against women and girls by the belligerents in the conflict.

President Bio highlighted that the humanitarian situation, including food shortages, clean water, fuel, electricity, and medicines, remained dire due to the ongoing armed conflict. He warned that “if the hostilities continue unabated, Sudan risks a complete collapse, with spillover effects on its immediate neighbours and the wilder continent”.

He urged the parties to the conflict in Sudan, the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, to immediately halt hostilities, exercise maximum restraints, and prioritise the well-being and safety of the Sudanese people. He shared Sierra Leone’s experience of its trials and tribulations, pointing out that he deeply understood the painful impact of conflict on a nation’s social fabric and development.

“It is with this profound understanding that we stand in solidarity with the people of Sudan. We are committed to supporting all efforts to restore peace and normalcy in Sudan. We collectively have a pivotal role to play in addressing this crisis.

“We must leverage our collective wisdom, resources, and influence to facilitate a peaceful resolution. It is imperative that we support the ongoing mediation efforts, provide humanitarian assistance, and ensure that the voices of all Sudanese stakeholders are heard and respected,” President Bio appealed.

The President called on all belligerent parties to work collaboratively with the AU and IGAD to effectively attain a nationwide cessation of hostilities and a sustainable ceasefire, find a peaceful and durable solution to the conflict, and implement humanitarian measures to help alleviate the suffering of the Sudanese people.

He appealed for a swift conclusion of negotiations towards a comprehensive peace deal that would lead to the creation of a credible constitutional government, which, according to him, was vital for Sudan’s long-term stability and development.

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