Sudan: Washington ready to resume mediation if both sides are “serious”

The United States said on Thursday it was ready to mediate in Sudan on the condition that both warring sides were “serious” about a ceasefire after the military pulled out of talks.

Residents told AFP that forces led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhane heavily bombarded positions of Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo’s Rapid Support Force (RSF, a paramilitary force) in the south and north of the capital on Wednesday.

The war, which is entering its 48th day, has already killed more than 1,800 people and caused the displacement of more than a million people, mainly Sudanese but also refugees in Sudan, according to the NGO ACLED.

And the situation is getting more dire every day: according to the United Nations the country is on the brink of famine and the rainy season is approaching with the threat of an epidemic.

On Wednesday, the army announced it had “suspended talks” held for nearly a month in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for a ceasefire to open the way for civilians and humanitarian aid.

– “Serious Violation” –

“It took the decision because the rebels never implemented a point of the temporary ceasefire agreement, which provides for their return from hospitals and homes,” a Sudanese government official told AFP.

The United States, which oversees these talks with Saudi Arabia, on Thursday accused both sides of “serious violations” but said it was ready to resume efforts to reach a truce. .

“Once the forces have made it clear through their actions that they are serious about abiding by the ceasefire, the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are prepared to resume negotiations … to find a solution,” a US State Department spokesman said during Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Oslo.

– out of the hospital system –

Still no corridor has been cleared to allow the passage of humanitarian aid, which is now needed by 25 of the 45 million Sudanese according to the UN. Some of the goods that are capable of being carried do not meet the extreme needs.

Even before the war, one in three Sudanese suffered from hunger, long power cuts were a daily occurrence and the health system was on the verge of collapse.

In Khartoum, many residents say they were driven from their homes by members of the FSR. Or after learning that paramilitary forces had settled there after fleeing.

The fighting is most violent in Darfur, bordering Chad, with some areas completely cut off from the world without electricity or telephones.

There, the new call for armed civilians raises fears of a “total civil war,” according to the civil bloc ousted from power by the 2021 coup of two then-affiliated generals.

Since the beginning of the war, the doctors’ union has condemned the occupation of several hospitals by the belligerents. Three-quarters of hospitals in war zones are out of order, others have to deal with nearly empty stores and generators shut down for lack of fuel.

On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated his support for UN envoy to Sudan Volker Perthes, whose dismissal has been called for by the Sudanese army chief.

The UN Secretary-General said that it was “for the Security Council to decide whether it supports the continuation of the (assistance) mission for a further period or whether it decides that the time has come to end it”.

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