Warring Sudanese sides violated short-term ceasefire: Saudi, US statement

Saudi Arabia and the US said both warring Sudanese sides violated the short-term ceasefire, according to a joint statement Sunday released evening.

The Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) agreed to and signed a seven-day agreement on a short-term ceasefire and humanitarian arrangements on May 20 in Jeddah.

The agreement went into effect on May 22 at 9:45 p.m. local Khartoum time and will end on Monday evening if not extended.

It was a Saudi-US-led attempt to help secure a ceasefire to ensure that aid and relief services enter Sudan without any danger.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America note that five days after the entry into force of a short-term ceasefire, there were violations by both parties that significantly impeded delivery of humanitarian assistance and restoration of essential services,” the joint statement said.

The statement stated that the Sudanese army violated the prohibition of conducting aerial attacks during this period, saying it flew military aircraft daily. It conducted a “confirmed airstrike on May 27 in Khartoum that reportedly killed two people and a separate airstrike on the same day that damaged Sudan’s currency printing press.”

As for the RSF, the Saudi-US statement said it continued occupying civilian houses, private businesses, and public buildings. It added that there were also confirmed incidents of looting by the RSF.

“Both sides undertook attacks and moved troops, weapons and other resources,” the statement noted. “As examples, the SAF [ Sudanese Armed Forces] conducted multiple attacks in the Saq al-Umla area and the RSF moved significant forces to the al-Halfaya Bridge, in proximity to the Wadi Seidna Air Base.”

As for facilitating the way for humanitarian assistance and actors, the Kingdom and the US said that both sides didn’t live up to this commitment. They also noted that maintenance personnel tasked with repairing infrastructure facilities could not do their work due to the military presence.

“On May 26, humanitarian actors seeking access to hospitals and other infrastructure observed emplaced snipers in RSF-controlled territory. On May 24, SAF elements commandeered medical supplies from two separate facilities to which those goods had just been delivered,” the statement added.

“The facilitators assess that cessation of SAF airstrikes, withdrawal of RSF forces from urban areas and ending attacks against humanitarian actors would facilitate improved delivery of assistance the Sudanese people badly need,” the statement said, calling on the warring sides to extend the ceasefire agreement.

“We have urged both parties to agree to an extension of the current ceasefire, however imperfectly observed, to provide more time for humanitarian actors to undertake that vital work.”

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