US, Saudi Arabia condemn return to violence in Sudan

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The US and Saudi Arabia on Sunday urged the warring parties in Sudan to get their acts together after fighting resumed upon the expiration of a 24-hour cease-fire.

In a joint statement, the partners condemned the resumption of violence, which they said was regrettable considering that the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have demonstrated effective command and control over their forces during the ceasefire period.

As soon as the 24-hour cease-fire ended Sunday, heavy clashes and artillery fire erupted across Sudan’s capital Khartoum.

More than 1,800 have been reported killed since the the army led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and the RSF led by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo began fighting in mid-April, according to figures from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project.

Saudi Arabia and the US managed to get the two sides to the negotiation table in May, signing what had become known as the Jeddah Declaration committing to the restoration of peace in the impoverished North African nation.
A number of temporary cease-fires have been agreed upon to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to trapped civilians, but the violence has persisted.

The two warring sides had “agreed to allow the unimpeded movement and delivery of humanitarian assistance throughout the country,” the Saudi foreign ministry said on Saturday.

In the joint statement on Sunday, Saudi and US facilitators said they “stand ready to reconvene formal talks in Jeddah, but only once the parties demonstrate their commitment to uphold their obligations under the Jeddah Declaration to Protect the Civilians of Sudan.”

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States continue to stand by the people of Sudan and urge the parties to end the fighting immediately.

“There is no acceptable military solution to the conflict. Besides engaging with the parties, facilitators continue to coordinate with regional and international partners to stop the fighting and minimize its impact on the region, and to intensify coordination with Sudanese civilian stakeholders, who must be the authors of their country’s future,” said the statement released by the Saudi Foreign Ministry.

The conflict has displaced more than 1.9 million, triggering a major humanitarian crisis that threatens to spill across a volatile region.

Fighting has been concentrated in the capital, much of which has become a war zone plagued by looting and clashes. But unrest has also flared elsewhere including the western region of Darfur, already suffering from a conflict that peaked in the early 2000s.

Residents and activists have reported a further deterioration in recent days in El Geneina, near the border with Chad, and new waves of attacks by Arab nomadic tribes with ties to the RSF.

Among those killed were a number of human rights activists, lawyers and doctors, according to the Darfur Bar Association, which monitors the conflict in the region.

The city has been largely cut off from telephone networks for several weeks.

A record 25 million people — more than half the population — are in need of aid and protection, according to the UN.

Fighting has gripped Khartoum and the western region of Darfur, uprooting nearly two million people, including 476,000 who have sought refuge in neighboring countries, the United Nations says.

More than 200,000 of those have entered Egypt, mostly by land.

But Cairo on Saturday announced it was toughening requirements for those Sudanese who had previously been exempted from visas — women of all ages, children under 16 and anyone over 50.

Egypt said the new requirements were not designed to “prevent or limit” the entry of Sudanese people, but rather to stop “illegal activities by individuals and groups on the Sudanese side of the border, who forged entry visas” for profit.

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