Sudan’s warring sides have agreed to a nationwide ceasefire for 24 hours starting early on Saturday, mediators Saudi Arabia and the United States have announced.
The ceasefire will begin at 6am local time (04:00 GMT), Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry said in a Twitter post on Friday.
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The agreement marks the latest in several failed attempts to stop weeks of fighting between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group.
The ministry’s statement said the two sides agreed – as they had done in previous ceasefires that were broken – to refrain from seeking military advantage during the 24-hour period, as well as from prohibited movements, attacks, use of aircraft or drones, aerial bombardment, artillery strikes, reinforcement of positions and resupply of forces.
“They also agreed to allow the unimpeded movement and delivery of humanitarian assistance throughout the country,” it added.
#Statement | The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America announce that representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) agreed to a 24-hour countrywide ceasefire beginning on June 10 at 6:00 a.m. Khartoum time. pic.twitter.com/WChGntroxH
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) June 9, 2023
The mediators said they proposed the latest ceasefire in an attempt to break the cycle of deadly violence that has caused a massive humanitarian crisis. They described it as a confidence-building measure that would allow the resumption of talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah which were suspended late last month – but also warned that any violations would lead them to consider adjourning the process.
The army said in a statement if had “agreed to the proposal”, adding it declared “its commitment to the ceasefire”. The RSF has yet to
make an official statement on the ceasefire.
Residents in the capital, Khartoum, told Al Jazeera they did not have any reason to believe that the ceasefire agreed for Saturday would be any different to the previous ones that were violated.
Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Omdurman, said many saw the announcement as an effort to allow “much-needed humanitarian assistance to reach those who are trapped in the areas of conflict around Sudan”, but she added that people “have little faith to believe that the two sides will actually stick to it, especially with ongoing fighting” in Khartoum and other parts of the country.
The UN says about 25 million people – more than half of Sudan’s population – are now in need of humanitarian assistance and aid that could help about 2.2 million people has been delivered since late May.
Since mid-April, fighting between the regular army and the RSF has gripped Khartoum and the flashpoint western region of Darfur, defying a series of ceasefires.
At least 1,800 people have been killed in the violence, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. Sudan’s health ministry has recorded at least 780 civilian deaths as a direct result of the fighting.
More than 1.4 million people have been displaced within Sudan and a further 476,800 have fled to neighbouring countries, most of which are already struggling with poverty and internal conflict, according to estimates from the International Organization for Migration.
The conflict derailed the launch of a transition towards civilian rule four years after a popular uprising led to the removal of longtime President Omar al-Bashir.
Sudan’s army and the RSF fell out over the chain of command and military restructuring plans under the transition.
We have provided both parties numerous opportunities to end this senseless war. We call on both sides to adhere to the commitment made today for a 24-hour ceasefire, which would allow Sudanese people to receive critical humanitarian assistance. https://t.co/26hwlWdtZA
— Bureau of African Affairs (@AsstSecStateAF) June 9, 2023
“We have provided both parties numerous opportunities to end this senseless war,” the US’s State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs said on Twitter.
“We call on both sides to adhere to the commitment made today for a 24-hour ceasefire, which would allow Sudanese people to receive critical humanitarian assistance.”