No sign Sudan warring parties ready to negotiate, UN says

Wednesday April 26 2023
People fleeing Sudan fighting

People fleeing Sudan disembark at the Wadi Karkar bus station near the Egyptian city of Aswan on April 25, 2023. The United Nations has moved hundreds of staff and family members to Port Sudan from Khartoum. PHOTO | AFP


United Nations

A US-brokered ceasefire in Sudan appears to be partially holding but there is no sign the warring parties are ready to seriously negotiate, the UN special envoy on Sudan said on Tuesday.

This suggested "that both think that securing a military victory over the other is possible," envoy Volker Perthes told the UN Security Council.

"This is a miscalculation."

Sporadic gunfire rang out in parts of the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Tuesday despite a US-brokered agreement between the warring generals to cease fire for 72 hours to pave the way for talks on a more lasting truce.

Fighting broke out between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on April 15.


Both parties agreed to a ceasefire beginning Tuesday after negotiations mediated by the United States and Saudi Arabia.

"It seems to be holding in some parts so far. However, we also hear continuing reports of fighting and movement of troops," said Perthes, who spoke via video from Port Sudan.

Previous bids to pause the conflict failed to take hold, but both sides confirmed they had agreed to the three-day halt.

A vehicle carrying people fleeing from Sudan

A vehicle carrying people fleeing from the fighting in Sudan drives a desert road in Sudan's Northern State. PHOTO | AFP


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the violence and chaos in Sudan as "heart-breaking."

Guterres on Monday warned that Sudan was on "the edge of the abyss" and that the violence "could engulf the whole region and beyond".

The power struggle puts Sudan's future at risk and could cause suffering for years and set back development for decades, Guterres said.

The United Nations has moved hundreds of staff and family members to Port Sudan from Khartoum.

Jordanian military aircraft carrying people evacuated from Sudan

A Jordanian military aircraft carrying people evacuated from Sudan arrives at an airport in Amman on April 24, 2023. A US-brokered 72-hour ceasefire between Sudan's warring generals officially came into effect Tuesday. PHOTO | KHALIL MAZRAAWI | AFP

UN hub in Port Sudan

The UN plans to establish a hub in Port Sudan to continue working in the country where, even before the violence broke out, nearly 16 million people — one-third of the population — needed humanitarian aid.

Ten days of heavy fighting, including air strikes and artillery barrages, have killed hundreds of people, many of them civilians, and left some neighbourhoods of greater Khartoum in ruins.

But in other areas there has been a reduction in the intensity of fighting since foreign governments scrambled road convoys, aircraft and ships to get their nationals out since the weekend, witnesses said.

Unconfirmed video posted on social media showed bewildered civilians walking down one street in Khartoum North where virtually every building was bombed out and smoke was still rising from the scorched ruins.

A passenger bus drives along a desert road in al-Gabolab, Sudan

A passenger bus drives along a desert road in al-Gabolab in Sudan's Northern State on April 25, 2023 as people continued to flee from the fighting pitting two rival army generals. PHOTO | AFP

Unable to flee

Millions of Sudanese are unable to flee the country, which has a history of military coups. They are trying to survive acute shortages of water, food, medicine and fuel as well as power and internet blackouts.

The capital Khartoum, a city of five million, has endured "more than a week of unspeakable destruction", Norway's ambassador Endre Stiansen wrote on Twitter after his evacuation.

A UN convoy carrying 700 people on Monday completed an arduous 850-kilometre road trip to Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast from the capital.