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US announces $245 million in humanitarian aid for Sudan

The announcement comes less than 24 hours into a ceasefire that reports indicate has already been breached.

(CN) — The United States is allocating $245 million to address humanitarian needs from the crisis in Sudan while its representatives in the region investigate violations of the latest ceasefire between warring factions.

Since fighting broke out on April 15 between the Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary, the State Department estimates that 840,000 people have been displaced within Sudan and another 250,000 have fled the country.

The two sides agreed to a weeklong ceasefire that started Monday night, but there are already reports of violations. The agreement included an internationally sponsored ceasefire monitoring mechanism, with representatives from the Sudanese Army, the RSF paramilitary, U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Tuesday that representatives are investigating the reports, but did not say what the consequences would be for violations.

“We do have additional tools available to us and we will not hesitate to use those tools if and when it’s appropriate to do so,” he said. “This continues to be a delicate situation.”

Nearly $143 million will come from the State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugee and Migration, primarily distributed to multilateral organizations in the area, which are entities established by more than one country to work on a common topic. An additional $103 million will come from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.

In fiscal 2023, the U.S. has provided nearly $880 million in humanitarian assistance to Sudan, Chad, Egypt, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. 

“The United States is by far the largest single donor to humanitarian needs in the Horn of Africa,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, “and we will continue to work with international and local partners to provide food, water, medical care, and other lifesaving assistance for internally displaced persons, refugees, and others in dire need due to conflict.”

Negotiations in support of the ceasefire have been underway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, since May 6 as regional and international leaders try to get a handle on the deepening crisis. Roughly a month earlier, Western governments largely evacuated their personnel from Sudan after an agreement they brokered to transition the African nation to a civilian government unraveled at the eleventh hour.

Civilian representatives have been critical of international players for leaving them out of the negotiations, but the State Department has said the talks “are not a political process and should not be perceived as one.”

The direct cause of the conflict traces to 2019, when the 30-year regime of President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in a popular uprising that gained support from the military and the Rapid Support Forces. The army and RSF shared power with civilian leaders in a transitional government for two years before ousting the civilians. 

Sudan was expected to soon transition to civilian leadership in an internationally brokered deal, but the plan fell apart when a power struggle erupted on April 15 over disagreements about the integration of the RSF into the army.

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Categories / Government, International, Politics

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