World powers condemn violence as clashes erupt in Sudan
Heavy fighting could mean prolonged strife across a country already dealing with economic breakdown and flare-ups of tribal violence.
The international community has condemned the escalation of violence in Sudan’s capital Khartoum.
Heavy gunfire and blasts were reported following days of tension between the armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
Fighting was under way for Khartoum’s airport, military bases, the presidential palace, and the residence of the army chief.
Countries were quick to denounce the violence and call for calm.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the situation in Sudan was “fragile” but insisted there was still an opportunity to complete a transition to a civilian-led government.
“We urge all actors to stop the violence immediately and avoid further escalations or troop mobilisations and continue talks to resolve outstanding issues,” he said.
Earlier, the US Ambassador to Sudan John Godfrey said on Twitter he was sheltering in place.
“Escalation of tensions within the military component to direct fighting is extremely dangerous,” Godfrey wrote. “I urgently call on senior military leaders to stop the fighting.”
Escalation of tensions within the military component to direct fighting is extremely dangerous. I urgently call on senior military leaders to stop the fighting. (2/2)
— John Godfrey (@USAMBSudan) April 15, 2023
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates urged all parties in Sudan to exercise restraint, deescalate and work towards ending the crisis through dialogue, according to the WAM state news agency.
The agency said that the UAE Embassy in Khartoum was following “with great concern the developments in Sudan and has reaffirmed the UAE’s position on the importance of de-escalation, and working towards finding a peaceful solution to the crisis between the concerned parties”.
France voiced “deep concern” at the outbreak of fighting in Sudan and called on warring military factions in Khartoum “to do everything to stop” the violence.
“Only the return to an inclusive political process leading to the appointment of a transition government and general elections can settle this crisis for the long term,” the foreign ministry said.
In a statement, the ministry said France was “available, with Sudan’s other partners, to facilitate an end to the crisis and promote a political solution”.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the outbreak of fighting and called for calm.
“The Secretary-General calls on the leaders of the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces to immediately cease hostilities, restore calm and initiate a dialogue to resolve the current crisis,” said Stephane Dujarric, the secretary general’s spokesman.
“Any further escalation in the fighting will have a devastating impact on civilians and further aggravate the already precarious humanitarian situation in the country,” he added.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called on military leaders to restrain their troops and de-escalate.
“The ongoing violence across Sudan must stop immediately,” Cleverly said on Twitter. “The UK calls on the Sudanese leadership to do all they can to restrain their troops and deescalate to prevent further bloodshed.
“Military action will not resolve this situation.”
Qatar urged all sides to end the fighting and resolve differences through dialogue.
In a statement, the Qatari Foreign Ministry called on all parties “to stop the fighting immediately, exercise maximum restraint, resort to the voice of reason, give priority to the public interest, and spare civilians the consequences of fighting.”
The Gulf country expressed “aspiration that all parties pursue dialogue and peaceful ways to bridge differences.”
Russia’s embassy in Sudan said it was concerned by an “escalation of violence” in the country and called for a ceasefire and negotiations, the state-owned Russian news agency RIA reported.
The embassy said the atmosphere in Khartoum was tense but Russian diplomats were safe.
Egypt expressed grave concern over the ongoing clashes in Sudan and called on all parties to exercise restraint, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The Saudi government said it was “deeply concerned” over the escalation and heavy fighting in Sudan. It called on the warring factions to “choose dialogue over conflict”.
The UN’s special envoy for Sudan Volker Perthes “strongly condemned” the eruption of fighting in the country and urged an “immediate” halt to the violence.
Perthes “has reached out to both parties asking them for an immediate cessation of fighting to ensure the safety of the Sudanese people”, a statement said.
European Union foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell called on all forces involved to stop the violence in Sudan immediately, and said in a tweet all EU staff in the country were safe and accounted for.