Sudan’s warring factions committed early Friday to protect civilians and the movement of humanitarian aid but have not agreed to a ceasefire and remained distant, US officials said.
after a week of talks in Saudi port of jeddah, SudanHe said the army and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) signed a declaration that they would work towards a short-term ceasefire in further discussions.
“Both sides are far apart,” a senior We A State Department official told on condition of anonymity.
A text of the declaration released after the talks said the two factions “committed to prioritize discussions to achieve a short-term ceasefire to facilitate emergency humanitarian assistance and the restoration of essential services.”
A US State Department statement said the sides would focus on reaching an agreement for an effective ceasefire of up to about 10 days.
The US official said negotiators working with Saudi and US mediators would next discuss specific security measures to protect relief supplies. The State Department statement said the measures would include “a US-Saudi and international supported ceasefire monitoring mechanism.”
The army and the RSF said in their agreement that they would plan for “expanded discussions at a later date to achieve a permanent cessation of hostilities”.
The US official said that once a temporary ceasefire is agreed, it will be a long process to end hostilities permanently. But Washington hopes the momentum will come from both sides’ willingness to sign Friday’s declaration.
The US official said civil groups are expected to participate in the talks later. The Forces for Freedom and Change, a coalition of political parties supporting democratic rule, called the declaration “an important first step toward ending the war” and urged the forces to follow it.
Clashes broke out on Thursday in Halfaya, an entry point to the capital Khartoum, as residents heard warplanes circling over Khartoum and its nearby towns of Bahri and Omdurman, but the fighting appeared calmer than on Wednesday.
Neither side has shown publicly that it is willing to make concessions to end the conflict that suddenly erupted last month, threatening to push Sudan into a civil war that has killed hundreds and triggered a humanitarian crisis. Done.
Previous ceasefire agreements have been repeatedly violated, leaving civilians to navigate a terrifying landscape of chaos and bombardment with failing electricity and water, little food and a crumbling health system.
let the dead be buried
The senior State Department official said the declaration, signed early Friday, calls for improving the flow of humanitarian relief and beginning the restoration of water and electricity services.
The mediators hoped “that it would be possible to arrange for the withdrawal of security forces from hospitals and clinics and a dignified burial of the dead,” the official said.
The World Health Organization has said that more than 600 people have been killed and more than 5,000 injured in the fighting. The health ministry said at least 450 people had been killed in the western Darfur region.
Many people have fled Khartoum and Darfur, uprooting 700,000 people inside the country and sending 150,000 as refugees to neighboring states, according to UN figures.
Cameron Hudson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said implementing any deal would be challenging.
Hudson said, “They are locked in this fight to the end and they will sign a piece of paper and Washington will celebrate a great victory but I don’t think it will change the dynamics of the conflict.”
Western countries condemned abuses by both sides at a human rights meeting in Geneva, but Sudan’s envoy there said the conflict was “an internal matter”.