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Sudan: Saudi-brokered talks ‘make no major progress’

May 9, 2023 at 1:10 pm

Smoke rises as clashes continue between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), in Khartoum, Sudan on May 5, 2023 [Ahmed Satti/Anadolu Agency]

Ceasefire talks between the warring parties in Sudan brokered by Saudi Arabia have made no “major progress,” a Saudi diplomat told AFP on Monday.

Sudanese army commander Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and the head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Lieutenant General Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo (also known as Hemedti), sent representatives to Jeddah for talks that both Washington and Riyadh have described as “initial”.

“A permanent ceasefire is not on the table,” said the diplomat. “Each side believes it can win the battle.”

The Sudanese army said previously that its delegation to the negotiations “will only talk about the armistice and how to implement it properly to facilitate the arrival of humanitarian aid.”

Sudanese and Saudi officials provided little information about the schedule or duration of the talks.

The UN High Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths, arrived in Jeddah on Sunday to meet representatives of the two parties to the conflict, although his role in the talks is not yet clear. A spokesperson for Griffiths said that he is seeking to discuss humanitarian issues related to Sudan. A second UN official told AFP yesterday that Griffiths had “asked to join the negotiations”, but his request had not yet been approved.

Since the outbreak of fighting on 15 April, several truces have been announced, but they have been breached. The fighting has resulted in hundreds of deaths, prompting the international community to warn of a “catastrophic” humanitarian crisis.

Saudi Arabia has played a central role in the evacuation of foreign citizens and others from Sudan. The Kingdom sent warships and other vessels to transport thousands of civilians from Port Sudan across the Red Sea to Jeddah.

The official Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday that Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman have directed the King Salman Relief Centre to provide $100 million in humanitarian aid to Sudan, as well as to organise a national donation campaign.

READ: Saudi Arabia pledges $100 million in aid to Sudan