The two fighting parties in Sudan announced today, Friday, that they agreed to a truce for 24 hours, and the United Nations refused to withdraw its envoy despite declaring him persona non grata, while the capital, Khartoum, turned into a semi-deserted city in light of the continued displacement and the worsening of the humanitarian situation.
The two parties to the conflict in Sudan have agreed to a new, short truce that begins tomorrow, Saturday, and ends on Sunday morning, according to a statement from the Saudi-American mediation.
Riyadh and Washington announced the agreement of the army and the Rapid Support Forces to a “cease-fire agreement in all parts of Sudan for a period of 24 hours, starting from six o’clock in the morning on the tenth of June 2023” (four o’clock in the morning GMT).
They affirmed that they “share with the Sudanese people the state of frustration over non-compliance with the previous truces,” and that the new agreement aims to “reach humanitarian aid, break the state of violence, and contribute to strengthening confidence-building measures between the two parties, allowing the resumption of the Jeddah talks.”
The Sudanese army said it agreed to the armistice “taking into account the humanitarian aspects that our people suffer from as a result of the ongoing operations,” stressing that it reserves “the right to deal with any violations that the rebels may commit” during it.
The Rapid Support Forces also pledged to “fully” abide by an agreement by fire “to serve the purposes of the truce,” hoping that the army would fulfill its pledges “and not obstruct humanitarian aid efforts to alleviate the suffering of citizens.”
Since the start of the conflict on April 15, the two sides concluded ceasefire agreements, which were quickly broken.
A Saudi-American statement warned that “if the two sides do not abide by this truce, the two moderators will be forced to postpone the Jeddah talks.”
Battles and fires
The battles continued today, Friday, in several areas, especially in Khartoum, and witnesses reported hearing “clashes near the Yarmouk Factory” for defense industries, which the Rapid Support Forces announced the day before yesterday, Wednesday, that they had taken control of it.
The complex, located in the south of the capital, is the most prominent military manufacturing facility in the country.
Clashes have been taking place in the vicinity of the complex since Wednesday, accompanied by the outbreak of a fire due to the explosion of one of the oil storage tanks in the nearby Al-Shajara oil and gas facility.
In eastern Khartoum, residents reported the occurrence of air strikes from the army and the sound of heavy anti-aircraft guns.
In the suburb of Omdurman, north of the capital, residents reported artillery shelling and clashes.
In a related context, Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, announced that the Sudanese government’s consideration of the international organization’s envoy as an “undesirable” person “contradicts” the principles of the United Nations and “cannot be applied,” pointing out that the description of German Volker Peretz “has not changed.” .
Dujarric said, “The capacity of Mr. Peretz has not changed now, and the position of the Secretary-General (Antonio Guterres) remains as he expressed it before the Security Council last week,” referring to the “absolute confidence” that Antonio Guterres repeatedly expressed regarding his envoy to Sudan.
“The Secretary-General reminds that the persona non grata principle does not apply to United Nations workers, and raising it contradicts the obligations of states pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations,” the spokesman added.
The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced earlier that the government had notified the Secretary-General of declaring Peretz “persona non grata”.
This came after the Sudanese army commander, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, asked Guterres in late May to replace Peretz, on the grounds that he was accused of fueling the conflict.
On the cusp of disaster
Humanitarian organizations have repeatedly warned of the seriousness of the humanitarian situation in Sudan, especially in Khartoum and the Darfur region (west), where the battles are most severe.
And the outgoing head of the Red Cross mission, Alfonso Ferdo Perez, warned that the health situation was “possible to collapse at any time,” despite the efforts made.
According to medical sources, 3 quarters of hospitals in combat zones are out of service, and it is feared that the crisis will worsen with the approach of the rainy season, which threatens the spread of malaria again, food insecurity and child malnutrition.
The United Nations estimates that 25 million out of 45 million people in the country need aid.
Khartoum and Darfur (west) and Al-Obeid (south) are the most affected areas at the health and humanitarian levels, and the significant shortage in basic services, amid fears of a slide towards a major humanitarian catastrophe, especially with the increasing number of people fleeing the war internally and externally.
Day after day, the population of Khartoum is decreasing, and most of its homes are deserted, as the population suffers from a shortage of basic foodstuffs.
And Anadolu Agency reported that it is possible to run out of bread and fuel at any time, in light of the absence of the flow of food and services from the city.
The Sudan Doctors Syndicate said today, Friday, that the city of Al-Obeid (the capital of North Kordofan) is suffering from a siege from all sides by military forces (it did not specify its affiliation with any of the parties to the conflict), which led to the deterioration of the living and health conditions of the city’s citizens.
Since the outbreak of clashes in the country, the Rapid Support Forces’ attack on El-Obeid, which is controlled by the Sudanese army, has not stopped.
The medical syndicate said in a statement that most of the food supplies had run out from the markets, warning of an imminent food disaster if the food supplies were not delivered.
She referred to the theft of World Food Organization buildings, where warehouses, 3 organization vehicles and a fuel tanker were stolen.