daajis.com:- The United States and Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday that talks aimed at solidifying a fragile cease-fire in Sudan are underway following three weeks of intense fighting that has resulted in hundreds of deaths and pushed the African nation to the brink of collapse. The negotiations mark the first between the Sudanese military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) since the conflict broke out on April 15 and are taking place in Jeddah, a coastal city in Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea. The talks are part of a diplomatic initiative, proposed by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, that seeks to end the fighting that has turned Khartoum and other urban areas into battlefields and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
In their joint statement, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. urged both sides to “actively engage in the talks towards a cease-fire and end to the conflict, which will spare the Sudanese people’s suffering.” The statement did not specify the timeline for the talks.
The talks follow concentrated efforts by Riyadh and other international powers to pressure the two sides in Sudan to come to the negotiating table and come as the United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that the number of Sudanese refugees fleeing to neighboring countries is expected to reach 860,000, with aid agencies requiring $445 million to assist them.
Meanwhile, officials from both the military and RSF have stated that the talks will address the opening of humanitarian corridors in Khartoum and the adjacent city of Omdurman, which have been at the center of the ongoing conflict. They will also tackle providing protection to civilian facilities, including health facilities suffering from severe shortages of both staff and medical supplies. The talks will also examine a mechanism to monitor the cease-fire, which is one of several truces that have failed to stop the fighting.
The pro-democracy movement in Sudan, a coalition of political parties and civil society groups, has called for leaders of the military and RSF to make a “bold decision” to end the conflict.
As of Monday, the Sudanese Health Ministry has reported at least 550 deaths and over 4,900 injuries, including civilians. The Sudanese Doctors’ Syndicate, which tracks civilian casualties only, has stated that as of Friday, 473 civilians have been killed in the violence, and over 2,450 have been wounded.
The fighting erupted following months of tension between Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the commander of the military, and his deputy in the council, Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo. The conflict has plunged the country into further chaos and led foreign governments to evacuate their diplomats and thousands of foreign nationals. Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have been displaced, with some crossing into neighboring countries.
On Saturday, a bus carrying Sudanese refugees overturned in Egypt’s Beni Suef province, injuring at least 36 Sudanese, including women and children, and two Egyptians. Tens of thousands of Sudanese have fled to Egypt since the start of the fighting. (AP)
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