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Sudan’s military says it has suspended its participation in talks with its rival paramilitary faction

Cairo — The Sudanese army has suspended its participation in talks with a paramilitary force it has been fighting for weeks for control of the northeastern African country, a military spokesman said Wednesday.

This development was a blow to the United States and Saudi Arabia, who mediated between the two sides whose conflict plunged Sudan into chaos.

brig. The move is a protest against the RSF’s “repeated violations” of the humanitarian ceasefire, Nabil Abdullah, a spokesman for the Sudanese Armed Forces, told the Associated Press, including its continued occupation of hospitals and other civilian infrastructure in the area. The capital, Khartoum.

Sudan descended into chaos after fighting broke out in mid-April between the army led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces, led by Maj. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. The fighting has killed at least 866 civilians and injured thousands, according to the Sudanese Doctors Syndicate, which tracks civilian casualties. The medical group said earlier that the death toll could be much higher.

The spokesman, Abdullah, said the military wanted to ensure that the terms of the truce brokered by the United States and Saudi Arabia were “fully implemented” before discussing further steps. He did not elaborate.

On May 21, the two sides signed a ceasefire agreement allowing the delivery of humanitarian aid and the restoration of basic services destroyed in the clashes. They also agreed to stop the looting of residential property and humanitarian aid, as well as the seizure of civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and power stations.

There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia or the United States, which are mediating the talks between the warring parties. To date, seven ceasefires have been announced, all of which have been violated to some extent.

In response to the army’s move, the RSF said it “unconditionally supports the Saudi-American initiative.”

Two other senior military officials said the military sent a letter to Saudi and American mediators detailing what they described as RSF abuses. They said the military delegation was still at the site of the talks in the Saudi port city of Jeddah.

One of the officials said the decision was the result of mediators’ efforts to move to the next phase of negotiations without “full implementation of the terms” of the humanitarian ceasefire. He said that this stage includes a long-term ceasefire and entering into negotiations to settle the differences between the two sides.

Both senior officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

On Tuesday, the army released footage showing Burhan inspecting the troops. The army chief warned that the army would resort to “full lethal force” if the RSF did not heed the “voice of reason”. Army planes were also seen flying over the capital.

Meanwhile, residents reported clashes late Tuesday in parts of Khartoum and the neighboring city of Omdurman.

Both sides blamed each other for breaking the ceasefire.

The army’s move came two days after the two sides agreed to extend the shaky ceasefire for more than five days, after Washington and Riyadh signaled impatience with the truce’s continued violations.

In a joint statement Sunday, the United States and Saudi Arabia called on both warring sides for specific violations of a week-long truce rather than issuing another general call to respect the agreements.

The statement said the army continued to launch air strikes, while the RSF were occupying people’s homes and seizing property. It added that fuel, money, aid supplies, and vehicles belonging to a humanitarian convoy were stolen, with the theft occurring both in areas controlled by the army and the Rapid Support Forces.

The fighting caused widespread destruction in residential areas in Khartoum and the neighboring cities of Omdurman and Bahri. Residents reported having their homes broken into and looted, mostly by the RSF. Many posted pictures and videos of their looted homes on social media, condemning the looting.

The conflict has also turned Khartoum and other urban areas into battlefields, forcing nearly 1.4 million people to flee their homes to safer areas within Sudan or cross into neighboring countries. Early on, foreign governments raced to evacuate their diplomats and citizens as thousands of foreign residents rushed out of the African country.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.



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