Let Kenya lead Sudan peace talks, Netherlands envoy Maarten Brouwer

Maarten Brouwer

Netherlands Ambassador to Kenya, Maarten Brouwer speaking during the Orange Day Celebration at his residence in Nairobi on April 27, 2023. He urged Kenya to mediate for peace in Sudan.

Photo credit: Pool

The Netherlands has called upon Kenya to lead the mediation talks between the warring parties in Sudan’s conflict on behalf of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa, lest the effects of the war spill beyond the country’s borders and affect the elusive regional peace.

He spoke during the celebration of the Orange Day where Netherlands celebrates the birthday of their monarch, King Willem Alexander held at the residence of Netherland's Ambassador to Kenya, Maarten Brouwer, in Nairobi, on Thursday.

While cognisant of the fact that both Kenya and The Netherlands are undergoing challenging political times, Ambassador Brouwer, said all efforts must be taken to prevent the gains of democracy that has seen Kenya governed by rule of law from sliding back to anarchy and violence.

The envoy detailed the war ongoing in Sudan, a country that had gone through a promising transition from authoritarian military rule to civilian rule but has now lapsed into full blown violence as two opposing military groups fight for power. 

“The vulnerable process has been aborted by a military confrontation at the expense of millions of Sudanese. That is what power struggles cause, devastation, fear, loss of life and loss of livelihood,” he said. 

He further pointed out the war between Russia and Ukraine which continues to create tension, fear and devastation in Europe as many countries suffer through price hikes, lack of food, flows of refugees and energy shortages.

“Mediation is still far away but must be the only way to withdrawal and peace. These effects come amidst periods of climate change that reduce the resilience of populations, whether in Africa, Europe or elsewhere,” he said.

Ambassador Brouwer also cautioned against use of violence in to settle political scores in Kenya saying its effects would only be worse.

“Kenya has a similar crisis that has led political confrontations to go beyond hot parliamentary debates and have entered the streets with violence and disruption as its features, Let us not forget, in low trust societies crime is often on the increase,” he said.

He commended Kenya for its plans to host the Climate Summit in September and urged the international community to give President William Ruto their full cooperation.

“Today, we celebrate excellent relations. With all difficulties and sobering developments in our countries and around us, Kenya and the Netherlands can rely on each other and will engage even more to find solutions for the developmental, economic and stability challenges we both face,” he said.

He also announced the Netherlands had three pillars central to its strategy for Kenya namely; promotion of trade and investment, leaving no one behind and strengthening stability.

Accredited to also represent the Netherlands in Somalia, the diplomat said they would continually sustain their efforts to promote stability and progress in the country.

On his part, Ambassador George Orina, the Director General, Bilateral and Political Affairs said Nairobi and Amsterdam shared warm ties that have resulted in the growth of many sectors including agriculture, trade, energy, water and sanitation, culture and high-level exchange.

With 100 Dutch-owned companies in Kenya, Ambassador Orina said the Netherlands was among the leading development partners in the country being the third-largest export market for Kenya and the fourth-largest foreign investor. It is also the fifth-largest source of Kenya’s imports.

“Netherlands is also a leader in matters of renewable energy adoption…we look forward to benefit from the advanced wind and solar energy technologies through knowledge sharing and increased investment and partnership with Dutch institutions and companies,” he said.