Saudi Arabia reiterates support for Sudanese people at aid conference

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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan reiterated on Monday that the Kingdom stands by the Sudanese people as the situation remains volatile in the country.

Prince Faisal said that the Kingdom “will continue its efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis,” touching on the mediation efforts exerted by Saudi Arabia and the US between the warring sides in this regard as part of the Jeddah talks.

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Speaking at a donor conference via videocall, Prince Faisal said that Sudanese people look forward to urgent support to face challenges posed by the violence.

For his part UN chief Antonio Guterres said that Sudan is descending into death and destruction at an unprecedented speed, urging donors to step in and curb the unfolding catastrophe.

“The scale and speed of Sudan’s descent into death and destruction is unprecedented,” the United Nations secretary-general told a pledging conference.

“Without strong international support, Sudan could quickly become a locus of lawlessness, radiating insecurity across the region.”

The Sudanese army, led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has since April 15 been battling paramilitary forces commanded by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, after the two fell out in a bitter power struggle.

The United Nations has two appeals for tackling the crisis -- the humanitarian response within Sudan, and the refugee response outside its borders.

The appeals need $3 billion this year, but are less than 17 percent funded so far.

Money poured into the UN’s Ukraine appeals within weeks following Russia’s invasion in February last year, but the international response has not been so quick for the crisis in Sudan, now more than two months in.

The largely-virtual pledging conference is an attempt to breathe some life into the Sudan appeals.

“The situation in Darfur and Khartoum is catastrophic. Fighting is raging with people attacked in their homes and on the street,” Guterres said.

“In little more than two months, two million people have been forced from their homes, seeking refuge in safer parts of Sudan or across borders. Close to half a million people have already crossed borders into neighbouring countries.

“Before this conflict erupted, Sudan was already grappling with a humanitarian crisis. This has now escalated into a catastrophe affecting more than half the country’s people,” he said.

“It is crucial to preventing the situation from deteriorating even further.”

Multiple truces have been agreed and broken in the war, which has claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people and driven another two million from their homes, including at least 528,000 who fled abroad.

Guterres said the only way to end the crisis was through a return to peace and the restoration of civilian rule via the transition to democracy.

The pledging event is being co-organised by the UN’s humanitarian and refugee agencies, alongside Egypt, Germany, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, plus the African Union and the European Union.

-With AFP

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