UN chief welcomes Sudan rivals humanitarian pact, urges truce

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed Friday an agreement between Sudan's warring generals to allow for the safe flow of humanitarian assistance in the country, but emphasized the need for a wider truce. "While humanitarian workers, most notably local partners, have continued to deliver in very difficult circumstances, the Secretary-General hopes this Declaration will ensure that the relief operation can scale up swiftly and safely to meet the needs of millions of people in Sudan," spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement. "He reiterates his call for an immediate ceasefire and expanded discussions to achieve a permanent cessation of hostilities," added Dujarric. After a week of talks in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah, the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) signed a "Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan,' the US State Department said Thursday. The parties will now use the Jeddah forum to "focus on reaching an agreement on an effective cease-fire of up to approximately 10 days to facilitate these activities. The security measures will include a US-Saudi and international-supported cease-fire monitoring mechanism," it added. Dujarric said the UN "will spare no effort to assist in" the humanitarian deal's implementation, "and will continue to deliver humanitarian aid, ceasefire or not." On April 15, fighting erupted between the Sudanese army and the RSF in the capital Khartoum and its surroundings. More than 600 people have been killed and thousands injured. Disagreement had been fomenting in recent months between the Sudanese army and the RSF over the RSF's integration into the armed forces, a key condition of Sudan's transition agreement with political groups. Sudan has been without a functioning government since October 2021 when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's transitional government and declared a state of emergency in a move decried by political forces as a "coup." Sudan's transitional period, which started in August 2019 after the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir, had been scheduled to end with elections in early 2024.

Source: Anadolu Agency