France Media Agency
May 6, 2023
Fighting rages Saturday in Khartoum as the army and paramilitaries fighting for power in Sudan are to discuss a new truce in Saudi Arabia, all previous ones having been relentlessly violated.
As every day since April 15, the inhabitants of Khartoum live to the rhythm of the bombardments, without water or electricity and with little money and food.
While Americans and Saudis assure that the belligerents will negotiate a truce, the army of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of rival General Mohamed Hamdane Daglo have accused each other of having attacked the convoy of the Turkish ambassador in Khartoum.
Witnesses also report to Agence France-Presse (AFP) fighting and air raids on various districts of Khartoum.
In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, “the army delegation will only talk about the truce and how to properly implement it to facilitate humanitarian access”, spokesman General Nabil Abdallah told AFP of the army.
“Lowest Common Denominator”
The United States and Saudi Arabia, which now appear to be diplomatically maneuvering, are urging the belligerents to “actively engage”, but have yet to announce whether such talks have begun.*100012 *
For Aly Verjee, a researcher from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, three points must be settled: the operational details of the truce, an observation mechanism and another of sanction.
We need a “geographical and operational framework for the ceasefire”, he told AFP, which would include, for example, “the cessation of air strikes or the withdrawal of combatants from civilian infrastructures such as hospitals
Before waging this merciless war, Generals Burhane and Daglo led a putsch together in 2021 which ousted civilians from power and put an end to the democratic transition, which began after the fall of dictator Omar el-Bashir in 2019.
But since April 15, they say they no longer want to talk to each other directly.
Former civilian minister Khaled Omar Youssef, sacked during the putsch, said he hoped for “a comprehensive political solution” while both sides claim that no political component is planned immediately.
For Mr. Verjee, the cessation of hostilities “is the lowest common denominator of the international community”, because “there is no apparent consensus for the aftermath”.
In Sudan, we remember that the war started because the negotiations under the aegis of the same people who propose to help today had failed, when Daglo and Burhane had refused to give in on the terms of the integration of the FSR into the army.
This point remains the sine qua non condition set by the international community to pave the way for democratic transition and therefore the return of foreign aid to the country.
This logic “deserves to be completely rethought”, pleads Mr. Verjee.
According to Sudanese officials, the FSR will be represented in Jeddah by relatives of General Daglo and his powerful brother Abderrahim, who passes for the financier of the FSR via his gold mines.
On the army side, high-ranking officers known for their hostility to the FSR will be present, according to these same sources.
The Saudis are great allies and backers of both sides in Sudan. And the United States has allowed Sudan to return to the concert of nations by lifting two decades of sanctions in 2020.
Multiple diplomatic channels
These two countries seem to want to take precedence over regional initiatives. :’IGAD, the East African bloc, is also trying to bring the generals back to the negotiating table.
The African Union lost its leverage when it suspended Sudan after the 2021 putsch, experts say.
As for the Arab League, it is due to bring together the foreign ministers of its deeply divided member countries on Sunday.
On the ground, the fighting which is entering its fourth week has claimed some 700 lives, according to the NGO ACLED, which lists the victims of conflicts. They also left 5,000 injured, 335,000 displaced and 115,000 refugees, according to the UN.
On Friday, they killed 12 civilians in el-Obeid, 300 km south of the capital, according to the doctors’ union.
Beyond the direct victims, this conflict is increasing hunger, a scourge that already affected a third of the 45 million Sudanese. According to the UN, between 2 and 2.5 million more people could suffer from acute malnutrition within six months if the fighting continues.
For the experts, the war will be long as the two belligerents seem to have the same combat capacities and to be reluctant to engage in political negotiations before having won on the ground.
In Darfur (west), in the western border of Chad, civilians were armed to take part in clashes mixing soldiers, paramilitaries and tribal or rebel fighters, according to the UN.
Nearly 200 people were killed there, according to the NGO Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
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