German foreign minister focuses on Sudan during East Africa trip

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock held talks in Kenya in East Africa on Thursday on a trip that will largely focus on the conflict in Sudan.

Kenyan President William Ruto received the top German diplomat at one of his country residences, the Sagana Lodge. It is located about 170 kilometres north of the capital Nairobi near Mount Kenya, the highest mountain in the country at over 5,000 metres.

The meeting with Ruto is also likely to focus primarily on the bloody power struggle in Sudan and its consequences for the region.

The German official and her delegation landed at the airport in the capital Nairobi in a Bundeswehr Airbus from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Baerbock then switched to a chartered Dash 7 four-engine propeller plane. The aircraft is considered particularly suitable when it comes to flying to airports with short runways.

At the start of her trip, Baerbock had already called for increased efforts to find a negotiated solution in Sudan.

The de facto head of Sudan, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his former deputy and leader of the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, have been fighting for power since April 2023.

According to the UN, almost 7.5 million people have fled since the conflict began.

The states in the region as well as the regional organization, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union play a central role in international mediation efforts, said Baerbock.

In addition to Djibouti, IGAD includes Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. Sudan has suspended its membership.

The group is seeking direct talks for a ceasefire in Sudan.

On Wednesday, Baerbock had to make an unwanted stopover with an overnight stay in Jeddah en route to her planned destination, Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, due to a lack of overflight permission from Eritrea.

She cancelled the visit to Djibouti and travelled straight to Kenya on Thursday.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (L) meets with Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto in the garden of the Presidential State Lodge Sagada. Michael Kappeler/dpa

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (L) meets with Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto in the garden of the Presidential State Lodge Sagada. Michael Kappeler/dpa

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