Warring parties in Sudan agree to temporary ceasefire, Blinken says

Halt in more than a week of fighting between Sudanese army and Rapid Support Forces

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday announced a temporary ceasefire between the warring sides in Sudan.

“Following intense negotiation over the past 48 hours, the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces have agreed to implement a nationwide ceasefire starting at midnight on April 24, to last for 72 hours,” Mr Blinken said.

The ceasefire comes after more than a week of fighting between the army and RSF in which more than 400 people were killed and the capital Khartoum paralysed by violence.

“This ceasefire aims to establish humanitarian corridors, allowing citizens and residents to access essential resources, health care, and safe zones, while also evacuating diplomatic missions,” the RSF paramilitary tweeted.

The army said on Facebook it would abide by the ceasefire on condition its rivals did so.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned earlier that Sudan was on “the edge of the abyss” and that the violence “could engulf the whole region and beyond”.

How are foreign citizens being evacuated from Sudan?

Spanish diplomatic personnel and citizens wait to disembark a military plane after they were evacuated from Sudan, in Djibouti, Djibouti, April 24, 2023. Spanish Defence Ministry Handout/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY

Fierce fighting broke out in the streets of Khartoum on April 15 between forces loyal to army chief Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan and the paramilitary RSF led by his former deputy Gen Mohamed Dagalo.

The major point of contention between two sides is the proposed integration of the paramilitary group into the regular army.

Mr Blinken said the US would help “co-ordinate” between the army and RSF as well as with regional partners to assist in the creation of a committee to oversee the “negotiation, conclusion and implementation of a permanent cessation of hostilities and humanitarian arrangements in Sudan”.

At least 427 people have been killed and more than 3,700 wounded, according to UN agencies.

Assistant administrative attache at Egypt embassy killed

Among the latest to die was the assistant administrative attache at Cairo's embassy in Khartoum, Egypt's Foreign Ministry said.

He was killed as he travelled from his home to the embassy to follow up on evacuation procedures, it said.

More than 4,000 people have fled the country in foreign-organised evacuations that began on Saturday.

On Saturday, the US withdrew its diplomatic staff from Khartoum, leading to a mass departure of western officials that some analysts worry leaves Sudan even more vulnerable.

“I do think that there is concern that with diplomats leaving the country, that there will be fewer eyes and ears present,” Susan Stigant, director of Africa Programmes at the US Institute for Peace told The National.

Ms Stigant feared that with fewer diplomats in Sudan, there would be a “greater barrier to exercising leverage to end the fighting”.

Updated: April 25, 2023, 5:48 AM