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Us Calls on Sudan's Warring Sides To Show Commitment to Cease-Fire

The United States said Thursday it is ready to facilitate discussions between Sudan’s warring sides if they show a commitment to abiding by a U.S.-Saudi-brokered cease-fire.

"Once the forces make clear by their actions that they are serious about complying with the ceasefire, the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are prepared to resume facilitation of the suspended discussions to find a negotiated solution to this conflict," a State Department spokesperson said.

The statement came a day after Sudan’s military broke off talks and accused rival paramilitary forces of repeatedly violating the truce.

The two sides signed a seven-day cease-fire May 20 intended to allow for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. They agreed to a five-day extension on May 29.

The United States and Saudi Arabia are monitoring implementation of the cease-fire and have said both sides have violated it.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council met Wednesday in a 90-minute-long, closed-door session at the request of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. It is only the fifth time in his more than five-year tenure that he has requested such a meeting.

“We are facing a dramatic situation in Sudan, both on the political and the humanitarian end, and the secretary-general wanted to share some thoughts that he has with council members,” his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters.

Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, has been mired in violence since April 15, when fighting broke out between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces after relations broke down between military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and RSF chief General Mohamed Hamdan Degalo.

The two generals are former allies who together orchestrated an October 2021 military coup that derailed a transition to civilian rule following the 2019 ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir.

Tensions between the generals had been growing over disagreements about how the RSF should be integrated in the army and who should oversee that process. The restructuring of the military was part of an effort to restore the country to civilian rule and end the political crisis sparked by the 2021 coup.

UN role

Despite the insecurity, the U.N. and its aid partners have been delivering assistance where they can. Between May 24 and 30, 100 aid trucks were deployed. The World Food Program has reached more than 782,000 people with food and nutrition support over the past four weeks, and the U.N. Population Fund has started to provide vital medicines and reproductive health supplies to the maternity hospital in Wad Medani in Al Jazirah state.

The U.N. also has a political mission in Sudan, known as UNITAMS, which is mandated to assist with the transfer to a civilian-led government. A diplomat with knowledge of the council discussions told VOA that Guterres expressed his frustration over the lack of public support for the mission, which is up for renewal by Saturday.

“It is up to the Security Council to decide whether the Security Council supports the continuation of the mission for another period or whether the Security Council decides that it is time to end it,” Guterres told reporters of the mission during brief remarks after the meeting.

Council diplomats said a six-month technical rollover of the mission’s mandate is likely to be voted on later this week.

Guterres also expressed his “full confidence” in his envoy, Volker Perthes. Last week, Burhan wrote to Guterres calling for Perthes to resign.

The war has killed hundreds of civilians and left more than 1.2 million others internally displaced, with about 350,000 escaping to neighboring countries. Khartoum has been forced to endure frequent power cuts, with many areas without running water, and most of the hospitals out of service.

Margaret Besheer at the United Nations contributed to this report. Some information came from Reuters, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.