Sudan. US, Saudi Arabia call on warring parties in Sudan to extend ‘imperfect’ ceasefire

CAIRO: The United States and Saudi Arabia have called on warring parties in Sudan to extend a fragile ceasefire set to expire on Monday as weeks of fighting dragged on in the capital and elsewhere in the country African.
The Sudanese army and a rival paramilitary force, fighting for control of Sudan since mid-April, agreed last week to a one-week truce, brokered by the United States and the Saudis. However, the ceasefire, like others before it, has not stopped fighting in the capital of Khartoum and elsewhere in the country.
In a joint statement on Sunday morning, the United States and Saudi Arabia called for an extension of the current truce which expires Monday at 9:45 p.m. local time.
“While imperfect, an extension will nonetheless facilitate the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the people of Sudan,” the statement said.
The statement also urged the Sudanese military government and rival Rapid Support Forces to continue negotiations to reach an agreement on extending the ceasefire.
Fighting broke out in mid-April between the military and the powerful RSF. The military leader, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan and RSF General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo led the 2021 coup that toppled the Western-backed government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.
The conflict has killed hundreds, injured thousands and pushed the country to the brink of collapse. It has forced nearly 1.4 million people from their homes to move to safer areas inside Sudan or to neighboring countries, according to the UN migration agency.
Residents reported sporadic fresh clashes in parts of the capital’s neighboring city of Omdurman on Sunday, where army planes were seen flying overhead. Fighting was also reported in al-Fasher, the provincial capital of North Darfur.
In a separate statement, the United States and Saudi Arabia accused both the military and the RSF of violating the ceasefire, saying such violations “significantly impede the delivery of humanitarian aid and the restoration of essential services”.
The statement mentions army airstrikes, including one that reportedly killed at least two people on Saturday in Khartoum. The RSF also continued to occupy civilian homes, private businesses, and public buildings, and to loot some residences.
“Both sides have told facilitators their goal is de-escalation to facilitate humanitarian assistance and essential reparations, but both sides are preparing for further escalation,” the statement said.
The conflict came to a stalemate as neither side was able to deliver a decisive blow to the other after six weeks of fighting.
During the first two weeks of the war, army airstrikes targeted RSF camps inside and outside the capital, crippling paramilitary force bases. This forced the RSF to deploy into densely populated areas, where they seized people’s homes and other property, and used them as cover against army airstrikes.
The detention of Dr. Alaa Eldin Awad Noguda prominent surgeon and pro-democracy activist, in Omdurman has caused outcry in the country, with medical and rights groups in Sudan and abroad demanding his release.
A group of armed men stormed Nogoud’s home on Sunday and arrested him, according to the Sudanese Doctors Syndicate. He was taken to an unknown location, he added.
The Forces for Freedom and Change, the pro-democracy coalition, said the gunmen claimed they were members of the military and intelligence services. He said Nogoud’s detention was part of a campaign targeting pro-democracy activists and called for his immediate release.
The development came after Nogoud told a TV station last week that the military had seized medical aid provided by the World Health Organization and stored it in a military hospital in Omdurman, according to reports. local media.
He said doctors were denied access to the facility when they asked other hospitals for a share of the aid. They were told permission was needed first to gain access, he said.
An army spokesman declined to comment on Sunday.
The US-Saudi statement came two days after Burhan demanded in a letter to the UN secretary-general that the UN envoy to his country be removed from his post. The UN chief was “shocked” by the letter, a spokesman said.
The envoy, Volker Pertheshas been a key mediator in Sudan, first during the country’s fractious attempts to transition to democracy and then during efforts to end the current fighting.
Burhan’s letter came after Perthes accused warring parties of breaking the laws of war by attacking homes, shops, places of worship and water and electricity facilities.
In his briefing to the UN Security Council last week, Perthes blamed army chiefs and the RSF for the war, saying they had chosen to “settle their unresolved conflict on the battlefield rather than at the table”.


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