Sudan belligerent sides agree to seven-day ceasefire

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Saudi Arabia and the United States have brokered a seven-day ceasefire between Sudan’s warring factions.

Representatives of both army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo signed up to the ceasefire in Jeddah where they also agreed not to seek any military advantage before it commences on Monday night at 2145 local time.

“It will be automatically renewed until we reach a permanent cease-fire through mechanisms we will discuss in the coming days to achieve confidence between the parties and for more humanitarian services for the Sudanese citizen,” said Ali Jafar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Sudan.

However, many ceasefires have been announced and then immediately ignored since the fighting broke out five weeks ago.

And even after this latest ceasefire was announced air strikes and artillery exchanges shook Khartoum on Saturday and armed men ransacked the Qatari embassy.

“This Sudanese blood is precious to you more than anyone else, and you know the importance of saving it,” said Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister after the deal was reached on Saturday.

“I hope this agreement will be a hope for the Sudanese people, especially the people of Khartoum, in which they can finish their humanitarian services in the seven days and hopefully, it will be more,” he added.

The conflict has now killed hundreds of people, most of them civilians, and displaced more than a million people.

The humanitarian situation is deteriorating in Sudan, Africa’s third-largest country, where one in three people already relied on aid before the fighting broke out.

Saturday’s ceasefire announcement comes two weeks after representatives of the warring generals first gathered in Jeddah for talks.

By 11th May, they had signed a commitment to respect humanitarian principles and allow in badly needed aid.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Thursday that there had been “important and egregious” violations of that agreement, which fell short of a ceasefire.