UN expects rapid resumption of truce talks between the two sides after the Jeddah Declaration
UAE welcomes Sudanese army and RSF agreement to commit to protecting civilians
A group photo after representatives of the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Authority signed the Jeddah Declaration. Reuters
Volker Perthes received assurances that the parties to the conflict in Sudan are ready to continue negotiations. Archive - Reuters
The UAE welcomed the announcement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States that representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces in Jeddah signed a declaration of commitment to protect civilians in Sudan, under international humanitarian and human rights law, to facilitate relief work and meet the emergency needs of civilians. In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation commended the efforts made by Saudi Arabia and the United States to sign this agreement, which provides for a 10-day ceasefire to enable the delivery of relief supplies and humanitarian aid, which paves the way to end the crisis between the parties and spare the Sudanese people further suffering. The ministry expressed the hope that this step will contribute to facilitating the delivery of relief and humanitarian aid to the affected areas, especially for the most needy groups of patients, children, the elderly and women, and the permanent ceasefire in order to achieve the aspirations of the brotherly Sudanese people for security, stability and prosperity.
The United Nations Special Representative for Sudan, Volker Peretz, expressed optimism yesterday that mediators could reach a ceasefire in Sudan in the next few days, between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, after the two sides signed in Jeddah on Thursday night a declaration pledging to respect rules that allow the provision of humanitarian aid.
The UN special representative for Sudan said ceasefire talks in Sudan would resume within a day or two, and Volker Peretz added that there had been a change in the positions of the warring parties, which could make them more willing to commit to any future agreement.
Sudan's warring sides late on Thursday reached a preliminary agreement to protect civilians and allow humanitarian aid after a week of talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah, but the agreement did not include a commitment to peace and fighting continued on Friday.
Volker Peretz said he spoke with one of the sides after the deal was reached and received assurances that they were ready to continue negotiating.
He told a news conference in Geneva via video link from Port Sudan: "We expect to resume those ceasefire talks today or tomorrow. "It's not supposed to take long to agree on the terms of the ceasefire theoretically."
Peretz said previous ceasefires had not held because both sides felt they could win, but added that he had noticed a change in their positions.
"Both sides realized that even if they could win, it would not be a quick victory, and that a long and protracted war would completely destroy the country and then there would be nothing left to win," he said.
Representatives of the army led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, reached the "Jeddah Declaration" after nearly a month of fighting that killed more than 750 people and displaced thousands, as part of preliminary talks with the participation of the United States and the United Nations that began last Saturday in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
"We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring the protection of civilians at all times, including allowing safe passage for civilians to leave areas of active hostilities on a voluntary basis in the direction of their choice," the declaration said.
The U.S. official familiar with the talks announced that the two sides had signed a "declaration of commitment to protect civilians in Sudan."
Under the declaration, both sides are committed to general principles of allowing humanitarian access, restoring electricity, water and other basic services, withdrawing their personnel from hospitals and allowing the dead to be buried "with dignity".
The official, who asked not to be named, explained that what the parties agreed on "is not a ceasefire. is an affirmation of their obligations under international humanitarian law, particularly with regard to the treatment of civilians and the need to provide space for humanitarian actors."
The official expressed cautious hope that the signing of the declaration by the parties would create momentum to force them to provide space for the entry of humanitarian aid, although she acknowledged that the two sides were still far away in the talks.
Negotiations will continue to reach a new temporary truce that would allow the delivery of aid, which could last up to 10 days, according to a statement issued by the US State Department.
A second U.S. official said the negotiations were "very difficult" and acknowledged that both sides may have ulterior motives by monitoring the ceasefire.
"Frankly, there is some hope on both sides that the other side will be seen as the perpetrator of the violations."
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan described the announcement as a first step. "The most important thing is to abide by what has been agreed, and the Kingdom will work until security and stability return to Sudan and its brotherly people," he wrote on Twitter.
Fighting continued between the two sides yesterday in Khartoum and El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state. In the south of the Sudanese capital, witnesses reported fighter jets flying and clashes and explosions were heard.
In Khartoum North (north of the capital), witnesses said there was aerial bombardment and anti-air defence missiles were heard in the Halfaya area.
In Geneva, UNHCR spokeswoman Olga Sarado told reporters: "As violence continues in Sudan for the fourth week, nearly 200,<> refugees and returnees have been forced to flee the country, with more people crossing the border to seek safety."
"The humanitarian response is difficult and costly," she said, noting that refugees and returnees are arriving in remote border areas, where services and infrastructure are scarce or non-existent and host populations are suffering under the weight of climate change and food scarcity.
For neighboring Chad, it said some 30,60 refugees had arrived in recent days, bringing the total number of people who have arrived from Sudan in recent weeks to <>,<>.
The U.N. Migration Organization said earlier this week that more than 700,15 people had been displaced inside Sudan following the outbreak of fighting on April <>.
For their part, the Forces of Freedom and Change, the former civilian component of the Sudanese government, considered the signing of this declaration an important first step towards ending the war in the country since April 15, and urged both parties to strictly and seriously abide by what was agreed upon.
The Tripartite Mechanism consisting of the United Nations, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) also welcomed the Declaration.