Thursday, September 28, 2023
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Sudan factions agree to 24-hour ceasefire

The latest agreement takes effect Saturday, with the international peacemakers hoping it can “break the cycle of violence.”

(CN) — Warring forces in Sudan have agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire this weekend, negotiators from the United States and Saudi Arabia announced Friday, cautioning that they will pull out of peace talks if the agreement is violated.

The ceasefire is scheduled to take effect at 6 a.m. local time on Saturday in a bid to “break the cycle of violence,” according to a statement from the Saudi Foreign Ministry.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have been coordinating negotiations since May 6 between the warring Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary, which have been embroiled in conflict for almost two months. 

But over the past few weeks, international players have been losing whatever tenuous grasp they had on the conflict, especially since the Sudanese army pulled out of the formal negotiations in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on May 31.

In a joint statement, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia said the army and RSF have agreed to refrain from attacks, use of aircraft or drones, aerial bombardment, artillery strikes, reinforcing or resupplying forces, or seeking military advantage as part of the ceasefire.

Both sides have repeatedly violated numerous previous détentes.

“The facilitators share the frustration of the Sudanese people about the uneven implementation of previous ceasefires,” the joint statement says. “Should the parties fail to observe the 24-hour ceasefire, facilitators will be compelled to consider adjourning the Jeddah talks.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud discussed the ongoing crisis in a joint press conference on Thursday. Blinken highlighted the “intensive diplomatic campaign” to end the conflict.

“We will keep working toward a durable cessation of hostilities and the swift formation of a civilian-led transitional government together with our partners in the Gulf and Africa and with the United Nations,” he said.

Al Saud said facilitators “have achieved a certain success,” but “it has not been a complete success because the parties did not commit fully to the agreement.”

“I am fully confident that our brothers in Sudan will rise up to the responsibility and respond positively to spare the citizens further demolitions and further hardships,” he said.

The Sudanese military and the Rapid Support Forces took power after a popular uprising in 2019 toppled the 30-year regime of President Omar al-Bashir. For two years, the army and RSF shared power with civilian leaders in a transitional government, but they ultimately ousted the civilians. 

This past spring, an agreement brokered by Western governments to transition the African nation to a civilian government unraveled over the proposed integration of the paramilitary into the army.

The State Department estimates that 840,000 people have been displaced within Sudan, and another 250,000 have fled the country since fighting broke out on April 15.

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Categories / International, Politics

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