Sudan’s warring generals ‘ready’ for talks, President Kiir says

Wednesday May 03 2023
Evacuees from Sudan board a Saudi vessel on April 30, 2023.

Evacuees board a Saudi vessel on April 30, 2023 during a rescue operation from Port Sudan to Jeddah as heavy fighting again rocked Sudan's capital Khartoum. PHOTO | FAYEZ NURELDINE | AFP


Sudan’s warring generals are ready to hold talks at a venue to be agreed, according to Salva Kiir, the president of neighbouring South Sudan, who is the lead mediator on the conflict for regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad).

President Kiir on Tuesday said he had held separate telephone conversations with Sudanese Armed Forces leader Lt-Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his erstwhile ally-turned-foe Lt-Gen Mohammed Hamdani Daglo ‘Hemedti’ who accepted to send representatives to talks at a venue to be agreed on.

People fleeing the Sudan conflict queue to board a boat from Port Sudan

People fleeing the Sudan conflict queue to board a boat from Port Sudan on April 28, 2023. PHOTO | AFP

“The two principals…have agreed in principle for a seven-day truce from May 4th to 11th. They also agreed to name their representatives to the talks,” South Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement.

The date of actual talks was not given but it is likely to be deliberated on during the ceasefire season. The two sides have agreed on three 72-hour ceasefires since the war began on April 15, but their parties have routinely violated them with sporadic gunfire continuing even after they agreed to hold fire.

Hospital in Sudan

A handout picture taken on April 19, 2023 and obtained from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on April 21 shows a crowded ward at a hospital in El Fasher in Sudan's North Darfur region, where multiple people have been wounded in ongoing battles there. PHOTO | AFP via MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES (MSF)


Over 800,000 displaced

As a result, more than 800,000 people have been displaced to neighbouring countries, according to a situational report by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday, making it one of the most critical humanitarian situations in the Horn of Africa yet.

Some 520 people have died in the violence with crucial facilities such as hospitals also shelled in Khartoum.

“The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Khartoum makes it imperative for thee leaders to de-escalate,” Kiir said on Tuesday. South Sudan said it was working with peers in the region including Kenya, Egypt and Uganda as well as Sudan’s international partners like Canada and the UK on the issues of ceasefire, cessation of hostilities and humanitarian situation.