US calls for regional powers to stop supporting Sudanese warring parties

UN has warned of a probable imminent attack in El Fasher in Darfur

A member of the Sudanese armed forces patrols a street in Omdurman. Reuters
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The US on Monday called on regional powers to stop supporting Sudan's warring parties, and warned that an expected attack on El Fasher in Darfur would be a “disaster” for the city's 800,000 inhabitants.

The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, which have been locked in a bloody conflict with Sudan's military for more than a year, have encircled El Fasher.

The UN last week said an attack on the city could be imminent, as the Sudanese army also appeared to be positioning itself.

“We do know that both sides are receiving support – both weapons and other support – to fuel their efforts to continue to destroy Sudan,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, told reporters in New York.

“All regional powers must stop providing weapons to both parties in accordance with the UN arms embargo.”

El Fasher is the last major city in the vast, western Darfur region not under the control of the RSF.

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“As I've said before, history is repeating itself in Darfur in the worst possible way, and an attack on El Fasher would be a disaster on top of a disaster, with 500,000 internally displaced persons at risk,” Ms Thomas-Greenfield said.

“Every single member state must speak out. The entire international community must speak out.”

The UN estimates between 10,000 and 15,000 people have been killed since the civil war started, with about eight million displaced and the impoverished country pushed to the brink of famine.

Ms Thomas-Greenfield urged both the RSF and the Sudanese military to engage in direct negotiations in Jeddah.

International efforts led by the US and Saudi Arabia to broker a truce have failed, and the two sides have refused to return to the negotiating table.

James Kariuki, Britain's UN deputy ambassador, told reporters that the Security Council is concerned about the humanitarian crisis.

“We heard, in particular, how troubling the problem of humanitarian access is given the barriers imposed by both sides to the conflict on this,” he said after a closed-door meeting on the situation in Sudan.

Updated: April 29, 2024, 7:19 PM