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Saudi Arabia, US call for new cease-fire agreement in Sudan

June 4, 2023 at 1:39 pm

A view of streets as clashes continue between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) despite the agreement on cease fire in Khartoum, Sudan on April 30, 2023 [Ömer Erdem/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia and the United States on Sunday called on Sudan’s army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary forces to agree on a new cease-fire, Anadolu reports.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America are keen to continue talks with the Sudanese negotiating delegations,” reads a statement issued by the Saudi Foreign Ministry.

The call came one day after a 5-day cease-fire deal between the two warring rivals expired on Saturday. It also followed the suspension of face-to-face talks between the army and the RSF in the Saudi city of Jeddah to reach a permanent cease-fire.

“Despite the formal pause in the Jeddah talks and the expiration on June 3 of the five- day cease-fire agreement, the delegations from the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces remain in Jeddah and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, as facilitators, continue to engage them daily,” the statement said.

“Discussions are focused on facilitating humanitarian assistance and reaching agreement on near-term steps the parties must take before the Jeddah talks resume,” it added.

The two countries called on Sudan’s conflicting parties “to agree to and effectively implement a new ceasefire, with the aim of building to a permanent. cessation of hostilities.”

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Saudi Arabia and the United States “stand ready to resume formal talks and remind the parties that they must implement their obligations under the May 11 Jeddah Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan.”

On Thursday, the US announced sanctions targeting Sudan’s warring rivals after the collapse of their cease-fire talks in Saudi Arabia.

At least 863 civilians have been killed and thousands injured since the outbreak of clashes between the army and the RSF since April 15, according to local medics.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that more than a million people have been internally displaced by the conflict.

A disagreement had been fomenting in recent months between the army and the RSF over the paramilitary group’s integration into the armed forces, a key condition of Sudan’s transition agreement with political groups.

Sudan has been without a functioning government since October 2021 when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and declared a state of emergency in a move decried by political forces as a “coup.”

Sudan’s transitional period, which started in August 2019 after the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir, had been scheduled to end with elections in early 2024.