Sudan cease-fire breaks down, stalling negotiations

Sudan cease-fire breaks down, stalling negotiations

Sudanese people loyal to the national army attend a demonstration to support the army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in Al Qadarif City, Sudan, on April 20. The army walked away from cease-fire negotiations on Wednesday. File Photo by Sudan News Agency | License Photo

May 31 (UPI) — Hopes for a sustainable cease-fire in Sudan were dashed on Wednesday after talks broke down between the government’s military force and a powerful militia group.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have been playing mediating roles in the cease-fire talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah. But leaders for the Sudanese Armed Forces walked away from the negotiation table with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces as both accused each other of previous cease-fire violations.

In dueling statements, the SAF said there was a “lack of commitment” from the RSF to support any terms of a cease-fire. In turn, the RSF said that, while it “unconditionally backs the Saudi-U.S. initiative, it accused the SAF of violations.

The breakdown happened after the warring factions had agreed to a five-day extension of an uneasy humanitarian cease-fire that was set to expire Monday evening. Saudi and U.S. negotiators had expressed frustration with cease-fire violations on both sides.

Human rights groups have worried about a widening humanitarian crisis since there has been little slowdown between the two factions, which were once allies, since fighting started on April 15.

More than 865 people have died with 3,634 injuries since the fighting started, according to statistics from the Sudan Doctors’ Union. Hundreds of thousands have crossed into Egypt, Ethiopia and South Sudan to escape the violence, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

A five-day stall in fighting had allowed humanitarian aid to enter into areas where fighting had been the heaviest.  » …
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