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Suspension of Sudan truce talks should not discourage mediators: AU

The Sudanese army says it has suspended its participation in US-Saudi-brokered ceasefire talks with the RSF.

  • Smoke rises in Khartoum, Sudan, on May 1, 2023 (Reuters)

The African Union (AU) considered on Wednesday that the suspension of talks between Sudan’s warring parties should not discourage further attempts at mediation, AFP reported.

The Sudanese army on Wednesday suspended its participation in US-Saudi-brokered ceasefire talks in Jeddah, accusing the RSF of failing to honor their commitments.

“In difficult negotiations, it is a classic phenomenon that one party suspends or threatens to suspend” its participation, Mohamed El Hacen Lebatt, chief of staff to the AU Commission president and the bloc’s spokesperson for the Sudan crisis told AFP.

Lebatt stressed that the Sudanese army announcement “should absolutely not discourage the mediators… the United States and Saudi Arabia, who we support very strongly, from continuing their efforts.”

Earlier today, a Sudanese government official told AFP that the Sudanese army announced that it has suspended its participation in the US-Saudi-brokered ceasefire talks with the RSF.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Sudanese official indicated that the army took the decision “because the rebels have never implemented a single one of the provisions of a short-term ceasefire which required their withdrawal from hospitals and residential buildings, and have repeatedly violated the truce.”

On Monday, the US and Saudi mediators confirmed that the army and the RSF had agreed to extend by five days a humanitarian truce they had frequently violated over the previous week.

But despite their pledges, fighting erupted once again on Tuesday both in greater Khartoum and in the western region of Darfur.

“The army is ready to fight until victory,” stressed army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan during a visit to troops in the capital on Tuesday.

The RSF, led by Al-Burhan’s former deputy Mohammad Hamdan Dagalo, said they will “exercise their right to defend themselves” and accused the army of violating the truce.

African Union endorses roadmap for conflict resolution in Sudan

On Sunday, the AU announced that it has endorsed the Roadmap for the Resolution of the Conflict in Sudan, which aims to end the fighting between the Sudanese army and the RSF in Sudan.

In a communique, the AU indicated that the roadmap was endorsed during the AU Peace and Security Council meeting on Saturday, which focused on the situation in Sudan.

The plan set six components, including the formation of a coordinating framework to guarantee that all regional and global actors’ initiatives are coordinated and effective, an urgent, durable, inclusive, and thorough ceasefire, as well as an efficient emergency response.

The AU Peace and Security Council meeting emphasized the critical importance of a single, inclusive, and strengthened peace process in Sudan, coordinated by the AU, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Arab League, and the United Nations, in collaboration with other partners.

“The council, with deep concern, strongly condemns the ongoing senseless and unjustified conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which has resulted in an unprecedented dire humanitarian situation, indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians,” the statement expressed.

Read more: Village in Sudan leveled to the ground by warring parties: BBC

Since fighting erupted on April 15, more than 1,800 people have been killed, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project.

The United Nations indicated that more than a million people have been internally displaced and nearly 350,000 have fled abroad, including over 170,000 to Egypt.

According to the UN, more than half of Sudan’s population — 25 million people — are now in need of aid and protection.

Entire districts of Khartoum no longer have running water, electricity is only available for a few hours a week, and three-quarters of hospitals in combat zones are out of service.

The Forces for Freedom and Change, the main civilian bloc ousted from power by Al-Burhan and Dagalo in a 2021 coup, warned that Sudan could slide into “total civil war.”

It is noteworthy that the UN warned on Monday that Sudan has become one of the highest alert areas for food insecurity, requiring “urgent” international action.

Read more: Darfur governor calls on civilians to take up arms and fight RSF

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