Saudi and US report improved ceasefire conditions in Sudan
Saudi Arabia and the United States said Friday the warring sides in Sudan’s conflict are adhering better to a new, weeklong cease-fire following days of sporadic fighting.
The truce, brokered by Riyadh and Washington, went into effect on Monday, but fighting continued in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum and the western Darfur region. Particularly intense clashes flared up on Wednesday, the two mediators said in a joint statement.
The conflict in Sudan erupted in mid-April after months of escalating tensions between the military, led by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, a powerful paramilitary commanded by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. The conflict has killed at least 863 civilians, including at least 190 children, according to the most recent numbers from the Sudanese Doctors’ Syndicate.
The latest, weeklong cease-fire is the seventh attempt at a truce after the others were violated.
A new cross-party committee tasked with monitoring potential violations observed Wednesday the “use of artillery and military aircraft and drones, credible reports of air strikes, sustained fighting” in Khartoum and Darfur.
Amid the reported calm on Thursday, humanitarian missions were able on to deliver “urgently needed medical supplies to several locations in Sudan,” the joint statement said. Efforts were also underway to restore telecommunications services in Khartoum and other areas of the country, it said.
On Friday, Khartoum residents reported only sporadic gunfire. However, Sudan TV broadcast a statement later in the day by the Defence Ministry, calling on all retired soldiers and citizens capable of fighting to head to the nearest military command to arm themselves for self-protection.
It did not elaborate. Over the past six weeks, looting has become widespread across many Khartoum districts, which are also without water and electricity.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned both parties of possible sanctions if the latest cease-fire was not adhered to.
The United Nations says that more than a million Sudanese have been internally displaced, while some 300,000 have fled to neighboring countries. The conflict has pushed the East African country to the brink of collapse, with urban areas of Khartoum and its adjacent city of Omdurman disintegrating into battlegrounds.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said late Thursday that the World Food Program has reached more than half a million people in nine states in Sudan with food and nutrition support since restarting distributions about three weeks ago.
Riyadh and Washington called on the Sudanese military and the RSF to continue to respect the cease-fire.
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