Johannesburg – A short-term ceasefire and humanitarian arrangements agreed to by warring factions in Sudan is due to come into effect on Monday, (22 May 2023).
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America (U.S.A.) at the weekend announced that on May 20, 2023, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, representatives of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF)signed an agreement on a short-term ceasefire and humanitarian arrangements.
“The short-term ceasefire, which enters into force 48 hours after the signing of the Agreement, shall remain in effect for seven days and may be extended with the agreement of both parties,” said the communique on the agreement.
“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 parties also agreed to facilitate the safe passage of humanitarian actors and commodities, allowing goods to flow unimpeded from ports of entry to populations in need.”
The communique said both parties have conveyed to the Saudi and U.S.A. facilitators their commitment not to seek military advantage during the 48-hour notification period after signing the agreement and prior to the start of the ceasefire.
The ceasefire will go into effect at 09:45 pm, Khartoum time, on Monday, (22 May 2023).
“It is well known that the parties have previously announced ceasefires that have not been observed,” said the communique.
“Unlike previous ceasefires, the Agreement reached in Jeddah was signed by the parties and will be supported by a U.S.A.-Saudi and international-supported ceasefire monitoring mechanism.
“This short-term ceasefire is in line with the step-by-step approach agreed by the parties.”
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.
“Given the brutality of the conflict, our immediate focus has been on stopping the fighting to relieve the suffering of the Sudanese people,” said the communique.
“The Jeddah talks have focused on a short-term ceasefire to facilitate humanitarian assistance and restoration of essential services.
“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.
“We look forward to 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 Sudanese people have now suffered for five terrible weeks as a result of this devastating conflict.
Last week, the United Nations said that the fighting in Sudan had produced over 900 000 internally displaced persons, while more than 250 000 had fled the country altogether.
Some estimates place the death toll at over 1 000 and injuries running into their thousands.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States stand by them and we demand the parties fully abide by their commitments under this agreement for a short-term humanitarian ceasefire to provide them with urgently needed relief,” said the communique.
The full text of the agreement is available here: https://www.state.gov/agreement-on-a-short-term-ceasefire-and-humanitarian-arrangements/