Warring Sudan factions sign 7-day ceasefire agreement in Jeddah in Saudi-US effort

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The Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) agreed to a seven-day short-term ceasefire and humanitarian arrangements that go into effect on Monday evening, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.

The agreement, which was signed and announced Saturday night in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, is part of the ongoing Saudi-US efforts to end the political crisis that has crippled Sudan since April 15 due to a power struggle between both groups.

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The deal states that the ceasefire will go into effect starting Monday, May 22 at 9:45 p.m. local time and will last for seven days and can be extended, according to the foreign ministry statement.

“Under the Agreement, the parties agreed to facilitate the delivery and distribution of humanitarian assistance, restore essential services, and withdraw forces from hospitals and essential public facilities,” the statement said. It added that the sides agreed to facilitate the flow of humanitarian services and goods to those in need.

The ministry also noted that the ceasefire adhered to in this agreement, and unlike previous ones, will be monitored to ensure the warning parties commit to it.

“It is well known that the parties have previously announced ceasefires that have not been observed. Unlike previous ceasefires, the Agreement reached in Jeddah was signed by the parties and will be supported by a US-Saudi and international-supported ceasefire monitoring mechanism,” the Saudi foreign ministry said.

“It is anticipated that subsequent talks will focus on additional steps necessary to improve security and humanitarian conditions for civilians such as vacating forces from urban centers, including civilian homes, accelerating removal of impediments to the free movement of civilians and humanitarian actors, and enabling public servants to resume their regular duties.”

The Saudi foreign ministry also underscored that the Jeddah talks have aimed to relieve the humanitarian suffering of the Sudanese people, but they are not “a political process and should not be perceived as one. We anticipate that subsequent talks in Jeddah will address steps needed to reach a permanent cessation of hostilities.”

Sudan has been mired in turmoil since a conflict broke out between the army and the RSF. Fighting has killed 705 people and injured at least 5,287, according to the World Health Organization.

The ministry reiterated that it stands alongside the Sudanese people with the US, urging the warring sides to commit to the recent agreement.

“We look forward to the leadership by Sudanese civilian stakeholders, with the support of the regional and international community, on a political process to resume a democratic transition and form a civilian government,” the ministry said.

Speaking to the delegates that signed the agreement, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan thanked them for taking this move.

Prince Faisal expressed his desire for this agreement to bring hope to the Sudanese people and will act as another step in the direction towards ending the conflict.

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