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UN envoy claims Sudan not ready for serious negotiations

Photo: UNMIS

Each believes that military victory over the other is possible, Volker Perthes said, calling the idea “a miscalculation”

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The United Nations envoy to Sudan said on Tuesday there is no indication that the conflicting parties in violence that has gripped the country are prepared to engage in serious negotiations, despite a 72-hour ceasefire appearing to partially hold, according to RT news.

There is yet no unequivocal sign that either is ready to seriously negotiate,” Volker Perthes told the UN Security Council, as cited by Aljazeera. He added that both the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) believe “that securing a military victory over the other is possible,” which is “a miscalculation.”

The fighting that erupted between the SAF and the RSF on April 15 has resulted in at least 460 deaths and 4,063 injuries, according to the Sudanese Health Ministry. The situation is said to have created a humanitarian catastrophe in the country, with food, water, and medicine in short supply.

Following negotiations mediated by the US and Saudi Arabia, the warring sides agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire starting on Tuesday after several failed attempts.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) said the armistice “seems to be holding in some parts so far,” while there are also “continuing reports of fighting and movement of troops.”

He accused both armed groups of breaching the laws and norms of war by targeting densely populated areas and displaying a lack of concern for the well-being of civilians, medical facilities, and vehicles used for transporting the injured and sick.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also described the hostilities in Sudan as “heartbreaking,” and cautioned that it could escalate and affect the seven neighboring countries in the region which have experienced some form of turmoil in the past decade.

The power struggle in Sudan is not only putting that country’s future at risk. It is lighting a fuse that could detonate across borders, causing immense suffering for years, and setting development back by decades,” Guterres said on Tuesday.

The UN, according to Guterres, plans to establish a hub in Port Sudan where it has relocated hundreds of staff from Khartoum following the killings of four personnel. The organization’s humanitarian office announced on Tuesday that it will cut back on some of its activities in parts of the country due to intense fighting.

However, the secretary-general stated that “establishing a hub in Port Sudan” will allow the UN to continue to provide aid to the Sudanese population, “one-third of” whom “needed humanitarian aid even before the recent crisis.”

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