US, Saudi Arabia urge Sudan’s warring parties to agree to a new cease-fire, amid fresh battles

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Cairo (AP) — Saudi Arabia and the United States urged Sudan’s warring parties in a statement on Sunday to agree to and “effectively implement” a new cease-fire amid renewed fighting in the northeastern African nation.

Sudan descended into chaos after fighting broke out in mid-April between the military, led by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, commanded by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.

For weeks, Saudi Arabia and the United States have been mediating between the warring parties. On May 21, both countries successfully brokered a temporary cease-fire agreement to help with the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid to the war-torn country. Their efforts, however, were dealt a blow when the military announced on Wednesday it would no longer participate in the cease-fire talks held in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah.

Following the military’s decision, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia said they were suspending the talks “as a result of repeated serious violations of the short-term ceasefire.” President Joe Biden’s administration imposed sanctions against key Sudanese defense companies run by the military and the RSF and people who “perpetuate violence” in Sudan.

In their statement on Sunday, Washington and Riyad said they continued to engage representatives of the military and the RSF who remained in Jeddah. They urged the Sudanese warring sides to agree to and implement a new cease-fire following the latest one which expired late Saturday. The aim is to eventually establish a permanent cessation of hostilities in the war-wrecked country, they said.

The statement said the discussions focused on “facilitating humanitarian assistance” and reaching an agreement on “near-term steps the parties must take” before resuming the talks.

The fighting has turned the capital, Khartoum, and other urban areas into battlefields, resulting in widespread looting and destruction of residential areas across the country. The conflict has also displaced more than 1.65 million people who fled to safer areas in Sudan and neighboring countries.

Residents reported intense fighting over the past two days in Khartoum and its neighboring cities of Omdurman and Bahri.

Loud sounds of shelling and gunfire were heard early Sunday in parts of Omdurman, as the military’s aircraft flew over the capital.

Fighting was also reported in the northern part of the Darfur region, which had witnessed some of the worst battles since the fighting began on April 15.

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