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Amid the confusion, a ceasefire was accepted by the belligerents

Amid the confusion, a ceasefire was accepted by the belligerents

Published on Sunday, May 21, 2023 at 04:21

A week-long ceasefire was reached late Saturday night between the warring parties in Sudan, where airstrikes rocked the Sudanese capital earlier and the Qatari embassy was ransacked by gunmen.

Amid heavy fighting in Khartoum, representatives of the Sudanese army, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane, and the paramilitary unit of General Mohamed Hamdan Daghlo’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) agreed to a ceasefire. , the US and Saudi Arabia announced in a joint statement on Saturday.

The document says the cease-fire will “come into effect on May 22 at 9:45 pm Khartoum time (7:45 pm GMT)” and last for “seven days”.

Earlier in the day, residents of the capital told AFP that increasingly violent “airstrikes” had even caused “the walls of houses to shake”.

The new cease-fire comes after several cease-fires since fighting in Sudan began on April 15, which Riyadh and Washington have ratified.

But “unlike previous ceasefires, the agreement reached in Jeddah was signed by the parties and will be backed by a ceasefire monitoring mechanism with the support of the US, Saudi Arabia and (the) international community,” the statement said.

For more than a month, the army led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and the paramilitary forces of General Mohamed Hamtane Daghlo’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been fighting for control of the seats of power.

Two weeks after the ceasefire announcement, representatives of the two warring generals first met in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for talks.

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They pledged on May 11 to respect humanitarian principles and provide humanitarian assistance.

But Martin Griffiths, the UN’s head of humanitarian affairs, lamented on Thursday that “significant and flagrant violations of the declaration have taken place since its signing”.

– “Unified” Army –

On Friday, General Burhan appointed three of his followers to the top ranks of the army, removing General Daghlo from his post as deputy of the Sovereign Council and replacing him with Malik Agar.

The latter, a former rebel who signed a peace deal with Khartoum’s authority in 2020, announced in a joint statement on Saturday that he “wants to stop the war and sit at the negotiating table”.

“Sudan’s stability can only be restored by a professional and integrated army,” he addressed General Taglow.

It was the integration of the FSRs into the army that sounded the death knell for the union between General Burhan and General Taglo, who, from the 2021 regime, together ousted the citizens from power.

The struggle for power between the two has thrown Sudan into chaos. Evidence of housing encroachment, looting and other abuses is mounting and diplomatic representations are not spared.

Sudan’s foreign ministry on Saturday accused “FSR militants” of attacking, damaging, looting and taking away computers and vehicles from the Qatari embassy in Khartoum.

Khartoum had already accused paramilitary forces of attacking the embassies of India and Korea, the Saudi cultural office, the Swiss ambassador’s residence and the Turkish consular section.

No casualties were reported in the attack, according to Doha, which has already evacuated embassy staff. Qatar’s foreign ministry condemned the attack, saying its embassy was attacked and damaged by “irregular armed forces”.

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– emergency assistance –

After a month of fighting that left more than a thousand dead and more than a million displaced and refugees, food shortages are mounting and the Sudanese agri-food industry is on its knees.

Two Sudanese are in need of humanitarian aid and the UN is releasing $22 million from emergency funds to help Sudanese who have fled to neighboring countries.

Almost a quarter of this amount will be used to meet the needs of more than 110,000 people who have fled to Egypt, a large neighbor to the north, which is suffering from a severe economic crisis.

UN Ambassador to Sudan Volker Berthes, who remains in the country, left for New York on Saturday, where he is scheduled to address the Security Council on Monday.

As neighboring countries fear the pandemic, the United States on Friday announced $103 million in aid to Sudan and neighboring countries to deal with the humanitarian crisis.