Smoke billows in southern Khartoum on May 29, 2023, amid ongoing fighting between two rival generals in Sudan. AFP
The delegations from the Sudanese Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are still in coastal city of Jeddah, despite the suspension of talks a few days ago and amid renewed fighting in the northeastern African nation.
For weeks, Riyadh and Washington have been mediating between the warring parties. On May 21, both countries successfully brokered a temporary ceasefire 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 ceasefire talks.
The Sudanese army accused the RSF of not abiding by the terms of the agreement and continuing to violate the ceasefire.
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 Riyadh said they continued to engage representatives of the military and the RSF with the aim 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.
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.